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Holocene Prehistory of the Southern Cape, South Africa

Excavations at Blombos Cave and the Blombosfontein Nature Reserve

Christopher Stuart Henshilwood
Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology


During 1992/3 nine Later Stone Age (LSA) coastal midden sites ranging in age from 6960 BP to 290 BP, and representing 28 depositional units were excavated in the Blombosfontein Nature Reserve and in the directly adjacent Blombos Estates, situated 20 km to the west of Still Bay, southern Cape, South Africa. This monograph is based on the results derived from the author’s research of these sites, including more recent data. In this monograph the term Blombosfontein is used to cover both the Blombosfontein Nature Reserve and the Blombos Estates. The original excavations of 1992 revealed Middle Stone Age deposits but excavation in these levels was limited and the age of the deposits could not be determined. Subsequent excavations of the MSA levels show thatthe BBC deposits range in age from over 140 000 years to less than 300 years. Excavation of these MSA levels is continuing . The primary objectives of the initial research at Blombosfontein were to examine the economic and cultural diversity present within and across these nine coastal middens. The core of the project revolved around the excavation of the 9 sites and the subsequent analysis and interpretation of the recovered data.