Canteen Kopje: The Stone Age & Geoarchaeology
Lecture by Kelita Shadrach
Thu, 07/06/2018 - 19:30
The Auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg
Kelita Shadrach
Date: Thursday, 7 June 2018
Venue: The auditorium, Roedean School
Time: 19:30
35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg
Non-members: R30, members: free
Canteen Kopje has yielded rare in-situ assemblages of the Fauresmith, a poorly defined industry often associated with the later Acheulean. The Fauresmith assemblages yielded from other sites, such as Kathu Pan, contain precocious developments in technology as early as ~0.5 Ma–features which only become widespread in the ensuing Middle Stone Age. The Fauresmith as a regional industry provides insight into technological practices during the period of significant behavioural diversification associated with archaic Homo sapiens. Studies of Fauresmith assemblages have often suffered from a lack of adequate contextual information. Previous excavations at Canteen Kopje were conducted with relatively low spatial resolution. A new excavation, Pit 4 West, was conducted in 2016 to investigate the spatial, stratigraphic and contextual association of the Fauresmith horizon in this area of the site in greater detail. A multi-disciplinary, stratigraphically sensitive fine resolution geoarchaeological and geospatial approach was applied in this
research. A nuanced assessment of the Fauresmith’s context was developed which included both macroscopic and microscopic sedimentological analyses. The combination of these provides a dataset that indicates diverse depositional and post-depositional features affecting the Fauresmith assemblage in various ways and at different scales. The purpose of conducting a lithic techno-typological study was to try to isolate the different industries (above, below and including the Fauresmith) that were within the Pit 4 West excavation and, based on these observations, compare to and combine the lithic dataset with the described sedimentological and spatial datasets produced for this research. This allowed for the clarification of the integrity of the Fauresmith in Pit 4 West. The artefact sample size for the Fauresmith at Canteen Kopje was increased and the presence of diagnostic tools has aided in formally defining the Fauresmith in Pit 4 West.

Kelita Shadrach acquired her BA, BSc with Honours, and MSc degrees in archaeology from the University of the Witwatersrand. Archaeology inspired her to keep learning, particularly about the importance of the southern African archaeological record in the study of human origins. Kelita specialises in the study of the Earlier Stone Age, a period which spans from 2.18 to 0.3 million years ago in South Africa. During this time significant cognitive, technological and perhaps social thresholds were crossed, and past human species began producing the first (recoverable) cultural material: stone tools. Kelita also specialises in geoarchaeology, a multi-disciplinary approach to analysing and understanding the archaeological context and site formation.