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A Refitting Study of Late Early to Middle Stone Age Lithic Assemblages from the Site of Kudu Koppie, Limpopo Province, South Africa

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The examination of lithic material from the late Early Stone Age (ESA) and Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels of Kudu Koppie (KK), Limpopo Province (South Africa) has revealed a range of raw material exploitation patterns and lithic technology. Situated on an escarpment within close proximity to the modern day Limpopo River, and given the high concentration of raw material sources within easy access of the site, KK offered an ideal environment for use by early human groups. This paper reviews the results of a refitting study of material associated with four types of raw material from four out of ten excavated squares at KK. The results demonstrate evidence for a range of technological approaches that are, in some cases, associated with differential use of various lithic materials. In addition, the analysis of the KK refits offers high-resolution insights into the unique qualities of individual technological events including the recycling of previously exploited nodules and, through additional flaking, the co-opting and alteration of one type of tool for the purpose of producing a second form of tool. Moreover, this paper also clearly demonstrates the applicability and value of refitting large Early and Middle Stone Age assemblages, thus offering interpretations concerning early prehistoric technological behaviour that would otherwise be rarely revealed.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Science, University of Cape Town


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