Frequency distributions of stone artefacts from Holkrans, North West Province, South Africa

Banhegyi, Stephen
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Excavations at Holkrans rock shelter, located in the Vredefort Dome, Southern Africa, revealed archaeological deposits dating back some 2000 years, to both the ceramic and pre-ceramic Later Stone Age. The ceramic phase, placed within the last 500 years by radiocarbon dates, was likely contemporary with the Late Iron Age stone-walled structures in the nearby area. The pre-ceramic phase dates from the early first millennium BC to about 1000 AD. This pilot study examined a sample of lithics from the base of the shelter mouth using a standard typology and frequency distribution as a first step to a more extensive study to be conducted in the near future. Analysis revealed a substantial temporal gap in shelter occupation between the ceramic and pre-ceramic levels, largely in agreement with the observations of Bradfield and Sadr (2011) who noted raw material and possible technological differences between these layers. New radiocarbon dates suggest a series of punctuated occupations during the pre-ceramic levels and more regular occupation during the ceramic phase. How did contact with early farmers influence the archaeology of Holkrans? With few other shelters known in the area, research at Holkrans has the potential to fill a physical gap among known Later Stone Age sites in the southern African interior.
BSc Honours Thesis University of the Witwatersrand
stone artefacts, Later Stone Age, North West Province of South Africa, Lithics, Holkrans shelter