Volume 23 1980
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Browsing Volume 23 1980 by Author "Maguire, Brian"
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- ItemFurther observations on the nature and provenance of the lithic artefacts from the Makapansgat Limeworks(Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1980) Maguire, BrianA selected sample of 45 lithic specimens from the Makapansgat Limeworks site, considered to be artefacts showing acceptable evidence of having been deliberately flaked or utilized, are illustrated, described and discussed. The sample comprises a single stalactite fragment from the grey breccia (Member 3), 2 chert pieces from the pink breccia (Member 4), 24 chert and dolomite pieces and 7 of quartzite from the Phase II breccia (Member 5) , 2 pieces- one of quartzite and one of vein quartz- of doubtful provenance, and 9 chert pieces from the overburden. Recognition of deliberate flaking of the native rocks (dolomite and chert) is often difficult because of the feebly conchoidal fracture often produced, and the susceptibility of the dolomite to weathering. Experimentally produced fracturing in chert demonstrates that such artificial fractures differ clearly from those produced by the normal break-up of this rock. The repeated appearance of two crude tool forms is discussed. The method adopted here in the analysis of the small-scale damage on working edges of suspected artefacts is considered to demonstrate independently their authenticity or otherwise. This procedure, whereby eight perceptible attributes are differentiated and evaluated, should prove useful in augmenting other criteria employed in the examination of all primitive materials suspected to be cultural. The Limeworks artefacts are also broadly discussed with reference to the Limeworks stratigraphy as originally described by Brain (1958) and as recently proposed by Partridge (1979) . The derivation of suspected artefacts in the overburden and in Member 5 are discussed. It is concluded that the great majority of those in the overburden were derived by decalcification of the underlying breccias, while those in the pebble bands of Member 5 appear to be primarily of intracavernous origin.
- ItemThe potential vegetable dietary of Plio-Pleistocene Hominids at Makapansgat(Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1980) Maguire, BrianNeither fossil pollens nor macroscopic plant remains have as yet been reported from the Makapansgat Limeworks breccias; hence there exists no direct means of assessing the character of the local floral environment during australopithecine times. However, it is suggested that provided acceptable evidence on the nature of the contemporaneous climate and particularly rainfall can be obtained, by indirect means a comparatively full picture may be presented, both of the local vegetation and of the plant foods available to hominids in the area at that time. The methods and types of data employed in deducing the nature of the palaeoflora at Makapansgat, under hypothetical conditions of rainfall both higher and lower than the present, are briefly summarised. The extant vegetation in the Makapansgat area is briefly described and the food plant component is discussed with reference to the numbers and types of food plant present, the numbers and types of foods these plants provide and the times at which they are availabe. These data relate to two study areas, one lying within an 8 km radius of the Limeworks site, the other lying within a 16 km radius. The present climate and floral-climatic relationships at Makapansgat in recent and historic times are discussed. The nature of secondary disturbance in the area is discussed and its effects emphasised. The conjectured nature and food plant component of the prehistoric Makapansgat vegetation is discussed in relation to hypothetical conditions of both increased and diminished rainfall. The five vegetation types represented at Makapansgat provide a total of 117 food plants within a radius of 8 km of the Limeworks site, and 150 within a 16 km radius. These plants are mainly trees and shrubs providing edible fruits.