Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dig It - Cederberg Rock Will Rock You

Archaeologist Steven Walker holds a delicately carved stone tool archaeology excavation in the soil of a deep overhang of the Cederberg mountains, near the neck Pakhuis.

Although this particular tool has not been officially dated, Walker and his colleagues believe it is derived from 100 000 years and has since lost or thrown away the first time he was hit by a human hand again.

"It 'pretty cool, is not it?" He suggests.

Walker is part of a small research team led by Dr. Alex Mackay, who works on this site Klipfonteinrand, a property that is part of the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat.

Mackay is an Australian archaeologist, who has worked extensively with the site of the Western Cape through with UCT Department of Archaeology, which specializes in the Mesolithic stone tools - the period of time extending from about 200,000 to 30,000 years ago, when modern humans came out and started to work in a different way.

Due to the importance of these local sites in the history of the emergence of modern humans and their migration from Africa to the rest of the world, Mackay - a postdoctoral researcher at the Australian National University in Canberra - received a grant from the Australian Research Council Klipfonteinrand digging.

His team excavated earlier this year and came back another month. Already have recovered 10 000 objects.

Mackay says UCT archaeologist Professor John Parkington the site was excavated in 1969. Parkington was interested in the archaeological history of the last thousand years, and although it has found and excavated a burial place has not really found what he was looking for, says Mackay.

"When we returned, we started to hole the old John to give us the best idea of ​​what would happen. It was something of a mission after 42 years, but we got there, and identified as some of what we thought would be best for us. "

They then searched and found 3M2 a marked discontinuity at the age of sediments of about 12 000 years until about 55 000-65 0000 years and still a hole for him.

"Where we are now down, it's hard to say, but probably will be between 100,000 to 120,000 years. So I think we're far enough back in time and there are a lot of archeology to come."

Artifacts recovered included here unifacial beautiful rocky points, which are "a classic marker" for the period between 55 000 and 60 000 years, parts of ocher, which are probably the same time, and carrots - they were hit rock flakes - gatherings of more than 75 000 years.

but precisely this excavation has been affected by the natural flow of water. "Water is not good for archeology. Where you put the moisture in sediments rich in organic matter, you attract the roots and the roots go down into the sediments and break, so you generally lose the bone that would have been there, "said Mackay.

The team also opened a new search 2m2 in dry sediment at the back of the shelter, where they found clear stratifications, or sediment stratigraphy.

"There is a dramatic contrast between what we have here and the front of the shelter. Based on the articles, I would say it is finely laminated on top of about 8,000 to 12,000 years, and to a lesser part is pushing past 14,000 to perhaps 18,000 years. "

Two of the team, Wesley and Kyla Bluff Flear, each up to 100 days to find artifacts of only 3 cm to remove sediment.

"It 'a rich," he says. "And it's interesting for age, given that 14,000 to 18,000 years ago the world was very cold, the coldest part of the last 120 000 years, so that everything changes here. There may have been much less Fynbos, and we suspect that Afromontane forest. So you can very well imagine a variety of landscapes, which these people live. "

The artifacts include ostrich shell, a large number of stone tools and bone - one of them a magnificent turtle humerus is probably about 18 000 years.

Based in part on Parkington in 1969 field notes, they suspect that the deposit on the back of the shelter can be as much as just over 3 m deep and probably still substantially intact. If this is correct, it could take an age greater than 90 000 years.

"I'm very excited. Once you get around 000 years old 80 is interesting territory," says Mackay. "And when you get back to some 100 000 years, speaks of the great human question, the Big Picture 'is part of a story that has significance for everyone, everywhere, that's why someone like me to Australia is fascinated by these questions. "

Anatomically modern humans emerged about 200,000 years, but the pulse of emigration from Africa to Asia to the west, Australia and Europe occurred only in the last 100 000 years, according to data available, says Mackay. "Why did it take 100,000 years to reach the point where they suddenly decide that world domination is the game for them?

"Because that's what seems to have happened. And the reason why these questions are relevant here in the southern tip of Africa, because there are special sites with these sequences (layers of different ages) where we can see the type of things people do in this time range, and perhaps begin to answer these questions. "

The Cederberg and neighboring regions through Sandveld and down the coast at Elands Bay Verlorenvlei and is blessed with just such sites.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Interesting but needs an edit.