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TL DATING OF BURNT LITHICS FROM BLOMBOS CAVE (SOUTH AFRICA): FURTHER EVIDENCE FOR THE ANTIQUITY OF MODERN HUMAN BEHAVIOUR*

African Heritage Research Institute, 167 Buitenkant Street, Gardens, 8001, Cape Town, South Africa
Archaeometry (Impact Factor: 1.29). 04/2006; 48(2):341 - 357. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4754.2006.00260.x

ABSTRACT This paper presents the first TL dates for burnt quartzites and silcretes from the Still Bay layers of Blombos Cave (South Africa). These layers contained engraved ochres and marine shell beads that could be an early manifestation of symbolic and thus ‘modern’ behaviour by the Middle Stone Age humans. The procedure devised to calculate the ages is presented in detail, particularly with regard to internal microdosimetry, because the problems faced in estimating the dose rates require an approach different from the one usually used on flints and sediments. A mean age of 74 ± 5 ka was obtained for five burnt lithics unearthed in the BBC M1 member of the Still Bay layers. This result is in good agreement with both ESR dates on teeth and OSL dates on sediment, and demonstrates the great antiquity of the archaeological remains discovered at Blombos Cave.

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Aug 19, 2014