A targeted drilling and dating campaign to identify Stone Age archaeological sites before excavation in west coast southern Africa

D. Colarossi, H. Fewlass, M.C. Stahlschmidt, D. Presnyakova, J. Matembo, M. Hein, S. Talamo, W. Archer

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Abstract

Here we present the results of a targeted drilling campaign that facilitated a geochronological study with coarse sampling resolution inside a new cave site, Simons Cave, on the west coast of southern Africa. A combination of radiocarbon (14C) dating and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating was used as a range-finder. Results confirmed preservation of Holocene and late Pleistocene sediments up to 133 ± 35 ka, overlapping with the ages of Middle Stone Age (MSA) occupations of the broader west coast region. A subsequent, systematic test-excavation at the site then embarked on a second geochronological study with a higher sampling resolution. Ultimately, the comparative study confirmed the potential of Simons Cave as a new site for the exploration of hominin occupation through the later Pleistocene and Holocene, yet raised several issues concerning the direct comparability of information deriving from drilled sediment cores and actual archaeological excavation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101314
JournalQuaternary Geochronology
Volume71
Early online date04 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • OSL dating
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Percussion coring
  • Archaeological excavation

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