Site: Bushman Rock Shelter Species: H. sapiens Year of Discovery: 1969  Discovered by: Mr. van Zyl  Geological Age: 29,000 years old  Cultural Attribution: Developmental Age: Infant  Infant aged 6 to 8 months  Presumed Sex:
Preserved Skeletal Party: Mandible  Preservation: Preservation Details: Anatomical Description: Additional Notes: Provenance not completely certain. Not found in excavation, but picked out from section by tourist guide ‘between layers 14 and 18’. Shows affinities with modern-day Bantu-speakers, but not San 
Bushman Rock Shelter Fossil 2
Site: Bushman Rock Shelter Species: H. sapiens Year of Discovery:
1971  1972  (This is incorrect; the diary entries shown at  show a date of 2nd December, 1971) Discovered by: J. F. Eloff  Geological Age: Between 12,500 and 9,500 years old  Cultural Attribution: Developmental Age: Infant  Presumed Sex:
Description: Two photographs of the southwestern corner taken four decades apart (left: J. F. Eloff; right: G. Porraz). The correspondence between the photographs is striking. The white circle indicates a rounded rock which is likely a grindstone and which is clearly described in Eloff’s diaries (1972): “At the D6/D7 wall, a round stone is sticking out. This rock is drawn on the profile drawing and numbered 19(ii). The rock is not removed”.
The origins of the grave were probably discovered for the first time in Layer 6 when a soft pocket was identified. Because of the softness of the soil it is possible that the grave originated even higher up (in Layer 5(a) or in Layer 5). It seems highly unlikely that it originated any higher for instance in Layer 4 […]” (1971, book 3). Layer 5 was dated to 9,500 BP.
At present, dating of the BRS sequence is exclusively based on radiocarbon and is reliable only for the LSA deposits (Vogel 1969; Plug 1981a; Protsch & DeVilliers 1974). Based on the dates obtained from Eloff ’s excavations, the age of the LSA occupations can be bracketed between 9,500 and 12,500 BP (Plug 1981a). The LSA chronology is supported by isotopic analysis conducted on shell fragments of the giant land snails Achatina sp. collected in abundance at the site (Abell & Plug 2000).
The following are a series of notes from the excavator, hand-written in his diary:
Thursday 1971, the 2nd of December
The soft pocket is opened up very gently and carefully. A few bones are exposed. After this the excavations are done even more carefully. We start working with paint brushes and spatulas. It looks like the bones that have been exposed are that of a child. A string of ostrich egg shell beads is exposed as well as a few human ribs. They are handled with care and we try to preserve them. As we continue excavating it becomes clear that the bones are indeed those of a child, lying on his left side.
(…) The child was buried in an animal skin. The remains of the skin are still present underneath the skeleton. It is extremely thin and fragile and crumbles to the touch. The bones are treated with a preservative as they are removed from the soil. (…)
Friday 1971, the 3rd of December
After the animal skin and skeleton was photographed the bones were yet again painted (…). After this the soil around the skeleton was removed, the soil that remained around the skeleton was encased in plaster of Paris. (…) The whole thing was removed very gently from the unit. Nothing was damaged during this process and the skeleton came out quite well.
This mandible, collected by a tour guide while it was apparently protruding from the excavation profile, was said to have been found somewhere between layers 14 and 18, but doubts have been expressed by researchers concerning its provenance (Protsch & De Villiers 1974). Problems regarding the exact origin of the mandible in the site are aggravated by the discrepancy between the two sets of radiocarbon dates available (those from UCLA and those from Gröningen, Protsch & De Villiers 1974).