Border Cave


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Publication Date

January 1998


Border Cave was investigated by R.A. Dart in 1934, by H.B.S. Cooke and others in 1941-2, and most recently by the author with the help of various volunteers (see Acknowledgements) over a total period of eleven weeks between late 1970 and mid 1975 (Cooke et al., l945; Beaumont and Boshier, 1972; Beaumont,1973). The original objectives were: (a) To isolate good C-14 samples in order to obtain evidence additional to published data being amassed at the time, which suggested that the Middle Stone Age technocomplex of sub-Saharan Africa was substantially older than the ~10-40 Kyr range then envisaged (Klein, 1970). (b) To see if a radiometric age could be deduced for the infant burial (Border Cave 3) found in 1941 (Archaeological Survey File B 20/1/2) and recorded there and by Cooke et al.(1945) as lying below "an ash horizon at the very base of the overlying zone of 'advanced', industry", which Malan (1949a) subsequently termed the 'Epi-Pietersburg'. (c) To determine if a closer study of the aggregates than that attempted by Cooke et al. (1945) would provide clues bearing on the nature and course of Middle Stone Age typological and metrical changes additional or supplementary to those previously outlined by Mason (1957, 1962, 1967) and Sampson (1972, 1974). (d) To provide a possible cultural, temporal and environmental framework for the mainly open and single-level Middle Stone Age sites in Swaziland and Natal, as excavated by the author at about 15 localities in 1965-8, and variously recorded by Brien (1932, 1935), Chubb (1932), Cramb (1950, 1961), Farnden (1968), Farnden and Gibbs (1962, 1963), Goodwin and van Riet Lowe (1929), Johnson (1908), and Malan (1945, 1948, 1949b, 1950).


Middle Stone Age, Border Cave

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