Lithic Analysis of an Early Later Stone Age Assemblage at Malony's Kloof, A Rock Shelter in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa
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The Early Later Stone Age (ELSA) plays a major role in understanding the technological shift which occurred between the end of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) and beginning of the Later Stone Age (LSA). The ELSA has potential to represent a discrete cultural unit, but it is vital to find additional sites. The research presented within this thesis aims to aid in this endeavor by adding one site to the overall library of evidence. The site this thesis focuses on is Malony’s Kloof in the Northern Cape Province in South Africa. Malony’s Kloof was discovered in 2004 during a survey of the Ghaap Escarpment, a geological formation located about 70 km northeast of the town of Kimberley. The main research question is: Does Malony’s Kloof qualify as an ELSA site? If so, then artifacts must include evidence of bipolar flaking, increased use of quartz, lack of formal tools, and little to no prepared cores nor multifaceted platforms. There must also be evidence of blades and bladelets (Beaumont 1978, 1981; Kaplan 1990; Low and Mackay 2016; Mitchell 1988; Orton 2006; Orton et al. 2011; Plug 1981; Wadley 1987). This research endeavor applies the present definition of the ELSA to Malony’s Kloof and argues the site does not meet all of the criteria but still represents a technological transition that includes evidence of Robberg technology in its younger occupation layers.
The assemblage from Malony’s Kloof Rockshelter A qualifies as a “legacy collection” since there was a substantial time lapse between excavation and analysis. The processing and analysis of legacy collections is vital to the field of archaeology and in the case of this research project, the only way to derive lithic technological information from Malony's Kloof. However, it was coupled with several challenges.