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Excavations at Melkbosstrand: Variability among Herder Sites on Table Bay, South Africa

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During an archaeological impact assessment in 1997, three shell middens were identified along a dune ridge 1.5 km from the shore at Melkbosstrand, about 22 km north of central Cape Town. They were subsequently excavated and yielded evidence of occupation beginning c. AD 700. Remains consisted mostly of shell and bone, with a very informal stone artefact assemblage. All three sites yielded ceramics and sheep bone; at one site sheep was the animal most frequently identified to species level. On the edge of one midden, a stone hearth 1.8 m in diameter was uncovered. This site cluster was almost certainly occupied by herders and, as such, constitutes the closest herder sites to Cape Town investigated to date.
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