Further observations on the nature and provenance of the lithic artefacts from the Makapansgat Limeworks

Maguire, Brian
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
A 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.
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lithic; Makapansgat; Limeworks