Radiometric dating of the Earlier Stone Age sequence in Excavation I at Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa: preliminary results

Michael Chazan
Hagai Ron
Ari Matmon

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We present here the results of 44 paleomagnetic measurements, and single cosmogenic burial and optically stimulated luminescence ages for the Earlier Stone Age deposits from Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape, South Africa. The resulting paleomagnetic sequence: N > R > N > R > N constrains the Earlier Stone Age strata in this part of the site to between ∼0.78–1.96 Ma. A single cosmogenic date of ∼2.0 Ma from the base of the section offers some corroboration for the paleomagnetic sequence. Preliminary results indicate that the small lithic assemblage from the basal stratum may contain an Oldowan facies. This is overlain by several strata containing Acheulean industries. The preliminary radiometric dates reported here place the onset of the Acheulean at this site to ∼1.6 Ma, which is roughly contemporaneous with that of East Africa.