Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-d2wc8 Total loading time: 0.247 Render date: 2021-10-22T16:12:30.194Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Cave life histories of non-anthropogenic sediments help us understand associated archaeological contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2020

Panagiotis Karkanas*
Affiliation:
Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science, American School of Classical Studies, Souidias 54, 10676 Athens, Greece
Curtis Marean
Affiliation:
Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, PO Box 872402, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA African Centre for Coastal Palaeoscience, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape 6031, South Africa
Mira Bar-Matthews
Affiliation:
Geological Survey of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel
Zenobia Jacobs
Affiliation:
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage & Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Life Sciences, University of Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
Eric Fisher
Affiliation:
Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, PO Box 872402, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA
Kerstin Braun
Affiliation:
Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, PO Box 872402, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA African Centre for Coastal Palaeoscience, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape 6031, South Africa
*
*Corresponding author at: E-mail address: tkarkanas@ascsa.edu (P. Karkanas).

Abstract

Pinnacle Point (PP) near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, is known for a series of archaeological caves with important archaeological finds. Extensive excavations and studies in two of them (PP13B and PP5-6) have documented alternating periods of anthropogenic-dominated and geogenic-dominated sedimentation. A variety of caves do not bear evidence of anthropogenic remains. We have studied in detail the remnant deposits of three of them, Staircase Cave, Crevice Cave, and PP29, which have been formed under the same geologic and sedimentary conditions with those with anthropogenic contributions. Their remains are small and patchy but have extensive speleothem formations (as do most caves at PP) that were isotopically analyzed for paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. These caves also offer the opportunity to understand the purely geogenic signature of the PP locality and thus offer a geogenic baseline for the anthropogenic caves. Archaeologists normally focus only on sites with strong anthropogenic signals, but by building cave life histories we “raise the bar” (Goldberg 2008, p. 30) on our contextual knowledge.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Aitken, M.J., 1998. Introduction to Optical Dating. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
Bar-Matthews, M., Marean, C.W., Jacobs, Z., Karkanas, P., Fisher, E.C., Herries, A.I.R., Brown, K.S., et al. , 2010. A high resolution and continuous isotopic speleothem record of paleoclimate and paleoenvironment from 90 to 53 ka from Pinnacle Point on the south coast of South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 21312145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bateman, M.D., Carr, A.S., Dunajko, A.C., Holmes, P.J., Roberts, D.L., McLaren, S.J., Bryant, R.G., Marker, M.E., Murray-Wallace, C.V., 2011. The evolution of coastal barrier systems: a case study of the Middle-Late Pleistocene Wilderness barriers, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 6381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bøtter-Jensen, L., Bulur, E., Duller, G.A.T., Murray, A.S., 2000. Advances in luminescence instrument systems. Radiation Measurements 32, 523528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Braun, K., Bar-Matthews, M., Matthews, A., Ayalon, A., Cowling, R.M., Karkanas, P., Fisher, E.C., Dyez, K., Zilberman, T., Marean, C.W., 2019. Late Pleistocene records of speleothem stable isotopic compositions from Pinnacle Point on the South African south coast. Quaternary Research 91, 265288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Braun, K., Bar-Matthews, M, Matthews, A., Ayalon, A, Zilberman, T., Cowling, R.M, Fisher, E.C., Herries, A.I.R, Brink, J.S., Marean, C.W, 2020. Comparison of climate and environment on the edge of the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain to the Little Karoo (South Africa) in Marine Isotope Stages 4-3 as indicated by speleothems . Quaternary Science Reviews 235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, K.S., Marean, C.W., Herries, A.I.R., Jacobs, Z., Tribolo, C., Braun, D., Roberts, D.L., Meyer, M.C., Bernatchez, J., 2009. Fire as an engineering tool of early modern humans. Science 325, 859862.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brown, K.S., Marean, M.W., Jacobs, Z., Schoville, B.J., Oestmo, S., Fisher, E.C., Bernatchez, J., Karkanas, P., Matthews, Th., 2012. An early and enduring advanced technology originating 71,000 years ago in South Africa. Nature 491, 590594.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Carr, A.S., Chase, B.M., Mackay, A., 2016. Mid to Late Quaternary landscape and environmental dynamics in the Middle Stone Age of southern South Africa. In: Jones, S.C., Stewart, B.A. (Eds.), Africa from MIS 6-2: Population Dynamics and Paleoenvironments. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp. 2347.Google Scholar
Cawthra, H.C., Jacobs, Z., Compton, J.S., Fisher, E.C., Karkanas, P., Marean, C.W., 2018. Depositional and sea-level history from MIS 6 (Termination II) to MIS 3 on the southern continental shelf of South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 181, 156172.Google Scholar
Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., Shen, C.-C., Polyak, V.J., Asmerom, Y., Woodhead, J.D., Hellstrom, J.C., et al. , 2013. Improvements in 230Th dating, 230Th and 234U half-life values, and U–Th isotopic measurements by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 371–372, 8291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dumitru, O.A., Austermann, J., Polyak, V.J., Fornós, J.J., Asmerom, Y., Ginés, J., Ginés, A., Onac, B.P., 2019. Constraints on global mean sea level during Pliocene warmth. Nature 574, 233236.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fisher, E.C., Bar-Matthews, M., Jerardino, A., Marean, C.W., 2010. Middle and late Pleistocene paleoscape modeling along the southern coast of South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 13821398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frisia, S., Borato, A., Fairchild, I., Mcdermott, F., 2000. Calref fabrics, growth mechanisms, and environments of formation in speleothems from the Italian Alps and southwestern Ireland. Journal of Sedimentary Research 70, 11831196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galbraith, R.F., Roberts, R.G., Laslett, G.M., Yoshida, H., Olley, J.M., 1999. Optical dating of single and multiple grains of quartz from Jinmium Rock Shelter, northern Australia: Part I, experimental design and statistical methods. Archaeometry 41, 339364.Google Scholar
Goldberg, P., 2008. Raising the Bar. In: Sullivan, A.P. III (Ed.), Archaeological Concepts for the Study of the Cultural Past. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, pp. 2439.Google Scholar
Haq, B.U., Hardenbol, J., Vail, P., 1988. Mesozoic and Cenozoic chronostratigraphy and cycles of sea-level change. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Special Publication, v. 42, pp. 71108.Google Scholar
Hendey, Q.B., 1983. Cenozoic geology and palaeogeography of the fynbos region. In Deacon, H.J. and Lambrechts, J.J.N. (Eds) Fynbos palaeoecology: a preliminary synthesis. S. Afr. Nat. Sci. Progr. Rep. 75, pp. 3560.Google Scholar
Huntley, D.J., Godfrey-Smith, D.I., Thewalt, M.L.W., 1985. Optical dating of sediments. Nature 313, 105107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jacobs, Z., Roberts, R.G., 2007. Advances in optically stimulated luminescence dating of individual grains of quartz from archaeological deposits. Evolutionary Anthropology 16, 210223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jacobs, Z., Wintle, A.G., Duller, G.A.T., 2003. Optical dating of dune sand from Blombos Cave, South Africa: I—multiple grain data. Journal of Human Evolution 44, 599612.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jones, B., 2010. Speleothems in a wave-cut notch, Cayman Brac, British West Indies: the integrated product of subaerial precipitation, dissolution, and microbes, Sedimentary Geology, 232, 1534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Karkanas, P., Brown, K.S., Fisher, E.C., Jacobs, Z., Marean, C.W., 2015. Interpreting human behavior from depositional rates and combustion features through the study of sedimentary microfacies at site Pinnacle Point 5–6, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 85, 121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Karkanas, P., Goldberg, P., 2010. Site formation processes at Pinnacle Point Cave 13B (Mossel Bay, Western Cape Province, South Africa): Resolving stratigraphic and depositional complexities with micromorphology. Journal of Human Evolution 59, 256273.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lian, O.B., Roberts, R.G., 2006. Dating the Quaternary: Progress in luminescence dating of sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews 25, 24492468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marean, C.W., 2010. Pinnacle Point Cave 13B (Western Cape Province, South Africa) in context: The cape floral kingdom, shellfish, and modern human origins. Journal of Human Evolution 58, 425443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marean, C.W., Anderson, R.J., Bar-Matthews, M., Braun, K., Cawthra, H.C., Cowling, R.M., Engelbrecht, F., et al. , 2015. A new research strategy for integrating studies of paleoclimate, paleoenvironment, and paleoanthropology. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews 24, 6272.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Marean, C.W., Bar-Matthews, M., Bernatchez, J., Fisher, E., Goldberg, P., Herries, A.I.R., Jacobs, Z., et al. , 2007. Early human use of marine resources and pigment in South Africa during the Middle Pleistocene. Nature 449, 905908.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Marean, C.W., Bar-Matthews, M., Fisher, E.C., Goldberg, P., Herries, A.I.R., Karkanas, P., Nilssen, P.J., Thompson, E., 2010. The stratigraphy of the Middle Stone Age sediments at Pinnacle Point Cave 13B (Mossel Bay, Western Cape Province, South Africa). Journal of Human Evolution 58, 234255.Google Scholar
Martini, J.E.J., 2000. Dissolution of quartz and silicate minerals. In Klimchouk, A., Ford, D.C., Palmer, A. N. and Dreybrodt, W. (Eds) Speleogenesis. Evolution of Karst aquifers. Huntsville, Alabama: National Speleological Society, pp. 171174.Google Scholar
Matthews, T., Rector, A., Jacobs, Z., Herries, A.I.R., Marean, C.W., 2011. Environmental implications of micromammals accumulated close to the MIS 6 to MIS 5 transition at Pinnacle Point Cave 9 (Mossel Bay, Western Cape Province, South Africa). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 302, 213229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCubin, D.G., 1982. Barrier-island and strand plain facies. In: Scholle, P.A., Spearing, D. (Edse), Sandstone depositional environments. AAPG Memoir 31, 247279.Google Scholar
Pickering, R., Jacobs, Z., Herries, A.I.R., Karkanas, P., Bar- Matthews, M., Woodhead, J.D., Kappen, P., Erich Fisher, E., Marean, C.W., 2013. Paleoanthropologically significant South African Sea Caves dated to 1.0 million years using a combination of U-Pb, TT-OSL, and palaeomagnetism. Quaternary Science Reviews 65, 3952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ramsay, P.J., 1995. 9000 Years of sea-level change along the southern African coastline. Quaternary International 31, 7175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ramsay, P.J., Cooper, J.A., 2002. Late Quaternary sea-level change in South Africa. Quaternary Research 57, 8290.Google Scholar
Rishworth, G.M., Cawthra, H.C., Dodd, C., Perissinotto, R., 2020. Peritidal stromatolites as indicators of stepping-stone freshwater resources on the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain landscape. Quaternary Science Reviews 235 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.03.026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roberts, D.L., Karkanas, P., Zenobia Jacobs, Z., Curtis, W., Marean, C.W., Roberts, R.G., 2012. Melting ice sheets 400,000 yr ago raised sea level by 13 m: Past analogue for future trends. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 357–358, 226237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rohling, E.J., Braun, K., Grant, K.M., Kucera, M., Roberts, A.P., Siddall, M., Trommer, G., 2010. Comparison between Holocene and Marine Isotope Stage-11 sea-level histories. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 291, 97105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rohling, E.J., Grant, K.M., Bolshaw, M., Roberts, A.P., Siddall, M., Hemleben, C., Kucera, M., 2009. Antarctic temperature and global sea level closely coupled over the past five glacial cycles. Nature Geoscience 2, 500504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, E., Jacobs, Z., Johnsen, R., Ren, M., Fisher, E.C., Oestmo, S., Wilkins, J., et al. , 2018. Humans thrived in South Africa 1 through the Toba super-volcanic eruption ~74,000 years ago. Nature 555, 511515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thompson, E., 2009. Acheulean artifact accumulation and early hominin land use, Garden Route Casino Road, Pinnacle Point, South Africa. Geoarchaeology 24, 402428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tucker, E.M., Wright, V.P., 1990. Carbonate Sedimentology. Blackwell, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vaks, A., Bar-Matthews, M., Ayalon, A., Matthews, A., Frumkin, A., Dayan, U., Halicz, L., Almogi-Labin, A., Schilman, B., 2006. Paleoclimate and location of the border between Mediterranean climate region and the Saharo-Arabian Desert as revealed by speleothems from the northern Negev Desert, Israel. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 249, 384399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wintle, A.G., Murray, A.S., 2006. A review of quartz optically stimulated luminescence characteristics and their relevance in single-aliquot regeneration dating protocols. Radiation Measurements 41, 369391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wright, V.P. and Tucker, M.E., 1991. Calcretes: An introduction. In Wright, V.P., and Tucker, M.E. (Eds) Calcretes. Reprint series 2 volume of the International Association of Sedimentologists. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 122.Google Scholar
Zecchin, M., Nalin, R., Roda, C., 2004. Raised Pleistocene marine terraces of the Crotone Peninsula (Calabria, southern Italy): Facies analysis and organization of their deposits. Sedimentary Geology 172, 165185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Karkanas et al. supplementary material

Table S1

Download Karkanas et al. supplementary material(File)
File 39 KB
Supplementary material: File

Karkanas et al. supplementary material

Table S2

Download Karkanas et al. supplementary material(File)
File 50 KB
Supplementary material: File

Karkanas et al. supplementary material

Table S3

Download Karkanas et al. supplementary material(File)
File 38 KB
1
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Cave life histories of non-anthropogenic sediments help us understand associated archaeological contexts
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Cave life histories of non-anthropogenic sediments help us understand associated archaeological contexts
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Cave life histories of non-anthropogenic sediments help us understand associated archaeological contexts
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *