Symbolic construction of communities during the Holocene Later Stone Age in the South-Eastern Cape

Binneman, Johannes Nicolaas Francois
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The main concern of this study is the investigation of the events which initiated the symbolic construction of communities in the south-eastern Cape during the Holocene Later Stone Age. To understand and to explain the relationships which existed between different groups in this region a social approach was followed. The data presented in this thesis are a summary of the results obtained from a large number of open-air shell middens, a coastal shelter, Kabeljous River Shelter 1, two coastal caves, Klasies River Caves 1 and 5 along the Cape St Francis coast and The Havens Cave, one of several sites excavated in the adjacent Cape mountains. Lithic evidence from the coastal sites indicates that during the past ·+500 years two distinctly different stone tool industries co-existed side by side along the south-eastern Cape coast. Caves were first occupied between 5800 and 4200 BP by groups with a typical Wilton Industry. At ca 3000 BP the Wilton Indu.rry was 'replaced' in the caves by a macro lithic quartzite cobble industry, named the Kabeljous Industry, but was still present in open-air shell middens until ca 1900 BP. At Klasies River Cave 5 both industries were Pl esent in the cave from 4200 BP to ca 3000 BP. There are no marked differences in the subsistence activities between the two different lithic industries and therefore it is argued that the Kabeljous industry does not reflect technological adaptation to a coastal environment. Instead I argue that the stone tools, as part of material culture production, played an active role in communicating information between groups. Central to the understanding of these social relationships are the concepts of power relations and inclusion. Style was the medium through which groups expressed symbolic group identity and maintained social boundaries. Important however, is the fact that the power rclutinns generated by symbolic identity expression was not aimed at excluding ether groups from their territory, but rather at. inclusion.
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Johannesburg, 1995.
Binneman, Johannes Nicolaas Francois (1995) Symbolic construction of communities during the Holocene Later Stone Age in the South-Eastern Cape, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>