Research reveals spread of stone tool making methods

2015-07-14 19:06


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Johannesburg - Long before social networking, some 65 000 years ago, homo sapiens living in South Africa began to share tool-making methods.

This was a marked difference to 71 000 years ago when humans - spread across different parts of the country - used similar tools, but different methods, to make them.

These new findings are based on research published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Similarities in stone tool making suggest that 65 millennia ago similar cultural traditions began to spread across the country, Professor Lyn Wadley, archaeologist from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, said in a statement.

“There were more sites and greater proximity between groups of people and that made social and cultural exchange easier,” she said.

She said this could be due to migration, population growth, or the discovery of more sites where Stone Age humans lived.

The paper, authored by Wadley and seven other academics from around the world, and published on July 10, is titled “The Still Bay and Howiesons Poort at Sibudu and Blombos: Understanding Middle Stone Age Technologies”.

The researchers analysed Middle Stone Age assemblages (groups of stone tools) at Blombos Cave, about 300km east of Cape Town, and Sibudu, about 40km north of Durban.

Howiesons Poort is near Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape.

“At these sites we find much of the archaeological evidence for the origins of modern human behaviour.”

The tools were used both for cutting, and on hunting weapons.

Read more on:    wits university
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