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Understanding Hominid Landscapes at Makapansgat, South Africa

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Understanding Hominid Landscapes at Makapansgat, South Africa

... We have also explored topographical locations that correspond to known hunter-gatherer patterns of landscape use, specifically examining old water courses and remnant tufa deposits that indicate the presence of ancient bodies of water, as well as locations with potential vantage points from which visual information about local animal and plant resources and other hominin groups might have been gained, and routes between. Recent research suggests that wayfaring and landscape legibility are significant factors in hominin behavioural evolution (Guiducci and Burke 2016; see also Kübler et al., this volume), and taking these factors into account has proven to be successful in landscape surveys elsewhere (Sinclair et al. 2003). Survey localities included small intensively surveyed areas (~200 m by 200 m) associated with specific resources or sediments, through to transects of perhaps 1 km length and 200 m wide walked across the landscape. ...
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Since 2012, a new phase of landscape survey for archaeological remains from the Palaeolithic has been undertaken in the provinces of Jizan and Asir in Southwestern Saudi Arabia. This is the first Palaeolithic landscape survey in this area since the Comprehensive Survey of the Kingdom undertaken between 1977 and 1982. More than 100 Palaeolithic sites have been identified from the Early Stone Age to the Late Stone Age, evidencing a regular association between archaeological remains and the Harrat deposits of basalt. The analysis of two major newly discovered sites, Dhahaban Quarry and Wadi Dabsa, has demonstrated the quality of archaeological and behavioural information that can still be recovered through landscape surveys in this region. At the site of Dhahaban Quarry, the survey has confirmed that Middle Stone Age lithic artefacts can be found in situ in the preserved beach deposits of ancient shorelines suggesting the use of marine resources. At Wadi Dabsa the technological study of a large assemblage of lithic artefacts suggests variations in expertise in lithic technology, and possibilities for understanding the process of learning the skills of lithic technology.
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