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The Fauresmith: the transition from the Earlier to Middle Stone Ages in Northern South Africa

The Fauresmith: the transition from the Earlier to Middle Stone Ages in Northern South Africa
The Fauresmith: the transition from the Earlier to Middle Stone Ages in Northern South Africa
This thesis discusses the Fauresmith of northern South Africa, a stone tool industry believed to contain contemporary Prepared Core Technology, Large Cutting Tools and blades, which is considered transitional between the Earlier and Middle Stone Ages. It further questions what this suggests about the nature of transitions as presently identified in the prehistoric record. Although ‘officially’ abandoned in 1965 the Fauresmith never fell completely from the literature and the last 20 years have seen it firmly re-appear in South African chronologies, and even more worryingly it has recently begun to be utilised as a chronotemporal marker. However, at no stage since Van Riet Lowe’s original publications, some 80 years ago, has it ever been fully described and there still remains no consensus on what the Fauresmith actually is.

Presented here for the first time is primary lithic data analysis, attempting to offer the first detailed description of the Fauresmith as a beginning to understanding its place in South African archaeology. In order to achieve this nine Fauresmith sites where chosen that are all significant in both our developing understandings of the Fauresmith and in how it is presently comprehended. The cohesive Fauresmith material is then compared to the later Earlier Stone Age material from the Cave of Hearths bed III and earlier Middle Stone Age from the Cave of Hearths bed IV and Bushman Rock Shelter.

Ultimately, doubts are raised as to the validity of the Fauresmith, and although some apparent Fauresmith sites could not be included in the analysis, for various reasons, several occurrences here are identified as mixed through erosive process, including the original Fauresmith type sites. Indeed, this study points attention to how knowledge transferred in an osmosis like manner has hindered our ability to critically comprehend our own methodological constructs. More fundamentally it raises concerns as to how transitions are presently problematised within prehistoric archaeology.
Underhill, David
ea8e3e3b-c0b5-41df-a52b-5ac25fbd5d54
Underhill, David
ea8e3e3b-c0b5-41df-a52b-5ac25fbd5d54
Mcnabb, John
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(2012) The Fauresmith: the transition from the Earlier to Middle Stone Ages in Northern South Africa. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 391pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis discusses the Fauresmith of northern South Africa, a stone tool industry believed to contain contemporary Prepared Core Technology, Large Cutting Tools and blades, which is considered transitional between the Earlier and Middle Stone Ages. It further questions what this suggests about the nature of transitions as presently identified in the prehistoric record. Although ‘officially’ abandoned in 1965 the Fauresmith never fell completely from the literature and the last 20 years have seen it firmly re-appear in South African chronologies, and even more worryingly it has recently begun to be utilised as a chronotemporal marker. However, at no stage since Van Riet Lowe’s original publications, some 80 years ago, has it ever been fully described and there still remains no consensus on what the Fauresmith actually is.

Presented here for the first time is primary lithic data analysis, attempting to offer the first detailed description of the Fauresmith as a beginning to understanding its place in South African archaeology. In order to achieve this nine Fauresmith sites where chosen that are all significant in both our developing understandings of the Fauresmith and in how it is presently comprehended. The cohesive Fauresmith material is then compared to the later Earlier Stone Age material from the Cave of Hearths bed III and earlier Middle Stone Age from the Cave of Hearths bed IV and Bushman Rock Shelter.

Ultimately, doubts are raised as to the validity of the Fauresmith, and although some apparent Fauresmith sites could not be included in the analysis, for various reasons, several occurrences here are identified as mixed through erosive process, including the original Fauresmith type sites. Indeed, this study points attention to how knowledge transferred in an osmosis like manner has hindered our ability to critically comprehend our own methodological constructs. More fundamentally it raises concerns as to how transitions are presently problematised within prehistoric archaeology.

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More information

Published date: April 2012
Organisations: University of Southampton, Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367390
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367390
PURE UUID: 8e249a2a-1974-4a95-a835-22f8ca8ee199

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Date deposited: 23 Oct 2014 12:30
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 01:59

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