Recent archaeological research in the Doring River catchment, Western Cape
Dr Alex Mackay
Tue, 08/02/2022 - 18:30 to 19:30
Western Cape
Title: Recent archaeological research in the Doring River catchment, Western Cape
By: Dr Alex Mackay
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In this talk I will discuss the Stone Age archaeology of the Doring River catchment, located east of the Cederberg in the Western Cape. Available archaeological data derive from dense open-air accumulations along the river course, and more sparse scatters on the adjacent rock slopes, as well as from three excavated rock shelters. Oldest ages on open-air sediment accumulations extend beyond 200 000 years, while the oldest currently-excavated rock shelter strata were deposited more than 150 000 years ago. Integration of these records is somewhat complicated, however, given the erosional nature of the open-air accumulations, and apparent differences in the timing or concentration of occupation in open-air and rock shelter contexts. Nevertheless it is possible to
identify changes in landscape use and the organisation of stone artefact technologies for some periods within this large temporal span. The results suggest that patterns of landuse differed significantly through time; that different of technological systems were enacted in different parts of the landscape; and that in certain periods tools were habitually transported over distances of 50-100 km. Integration of open-air and rock shelter data not only provides a more complete picture of past human behaviour, it is essential to understand the meaning of presence and absence in the archaeological record.
Alex Mackay is Associate Professor and Head of Archaeology at the University of Wollongong. His main research interests are in the evolution of human behaviour, and in the organisation of stone tool technologies. He has worked in Malawi, India, Peru, and Australia, but his main locations of interest are on the arid margins of the Western Cape. Alex loves fieldwork, so has spent much of the last two years feeling quite sad.

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