Dissertation Research on Lithics from South Africa

IMG_4551Melissa Miller, a third-year PhD student here in the Department of Anthropology, traveled to South Africa over the summer and collected sample of lithics for her dissertation.  Her research will utilize these lithics from the Kuruman Hills area in Northern Cape, South Africa.  She will be conducting various use-wear experiments on the samples to compile a reference collection for her dissertation research.

Melissa will also try to determine the taphonomy of the site Bestwood, whether it was rapidly formed or is a palimpsest.  The time period is unknown but has been identified as part of the Fauresmith lithic industry, which is characterized by both Early Stone Age (ESA) and Middle Stone Age (MSA) tools.  If the site is a palimpsest, the site could have multiple overlapping time eras.

Taphonomy means “the study of the processes (such as burial, decay, and preservation) that affect animal and plant remains as they become fossilized; also : the processes themselves” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

IMG_4549Palimpsest means “something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Dissertation Research on Lithics from South Africa
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