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Ochre for the toolmaker: shaping the Still Bay points at Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

Abstract : During a study of the Still Bay industry at Sibudu (Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa), we observed ochre deposits on the platforms of flakes associated with the production of bifacial points, which are highly characteristic of this industry. We discuss several hypotheses to explain this phenomenon, implicating either an intentional or unintentional anthropogenic origin, or a natural origin. These considerations are based on the characteristics of the ochre deposits (appearance, position and distribution), the technical features of the lithic artifacts on which they are observed and the sedimentary and archaeological context in which they were found. All of these elements converge to demonstrate that the ochre was indirectly deposited on the flake platforms through the use of iron oxide nodules as knapping tools for the manufacture of bifacial points. The significance of this behavior is discussed in light of increasingly frequent discoveries of ochre or other mineral materials with equivalent properties in the context of the MSA in South Africa.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02512190
Contributor : Sylvain Soriano <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 2:20:49 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 10:24:16 AM

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Sylvain Soriano, Paola Villa, Lyn Wadley. Ochre for the toolmaker: shaping the Still Bay points at Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). Journal of African archaeology, Frankfurt a. Main : Africa-Magna-Verl, 2009, 7 (1), pp.41-54. ⟨10.3213/1612-1651-10121⟩. ⟨halshs-02512190⟩

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