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Bushman Rock Shelter

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Story of Sapiens 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #1281

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Bushman Rock Shelter

    Site Type:
    Fossil Site
    Location:
    South Africa
    Name:
    Bushman Rock Shelter
    Coordinates:
    https://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=-24.5781477&mlon=30.6241914&zoom=12#map=7/-24.577/30.619

    Notable Discoveries:
    Bushman Rock Shelter Fossil 1
    Bushman Rock Shelter Fossil 2

     [3]

    Bushman Rock Shelter Fossil 1

    Site:
    Bushman Rock Shelter
    Species:
    H. sapiens
    Year of Discovery:
    1969 [1][5]
    Discovered by:
    Mr. van Zyl [1][5]
    Geological Age:
    29,000 years old [4]
    Cultural Attribution:

    Developmental Age:
    Infant [1][4]
    Infant aged 6 to 8 months [2][5]
    Presumed Sex:

    Preserved Skeletal Party:
    Mandible [1][4]
    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 [4]

     [6]

    Bushman Rock Shelter Fossil 2

    Site:
    Bushman Rock Shelter
    Species:
    H. sapiens
    Year of Discovery:
    1971 [2]
    1972 [1] (This is incorrect; the diary entries shown at [2] show a date of 2nd December, 1971)
    Discovered by:
    J. F. Eloff [1]
    Geological Age:
    Between 12,500 and 9,500 years old [2]
    Cultural Attribution:

    Developmental Age:
    Infant [1]
    Presumed Sex:

    Preserved Skeletal Party:
    Skeleton [1]
    Preservation:

    Preservation Details:

    Anatomical Description:

    Additional Notes:

     [2]

    Sources:
    [1] – A Master Catalogue: Holocene Human Skeletons from South Africa (1993)
    [2] – Bushman Rock Shelter (Limpopo, South Africa): A perspective from the edge of the Highvield (2015)
    [3] – https://sahris.sahra.org.za/cases/excavation-bushman-rock-shelter-limpopo
    [4] – Supplementary material to: Pleistocene Homo and the updated Stone Age sequence of South Africa
    [5] – Application for an Excavation Permit at Bushman Rock Shelter, Limpopo
    [6] – Bushman Rock Shelter, Origstad, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa (1974)

    #1287

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [3]
    Description: Distant view of Bushman Rock Shelter

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    #1289

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [3]
    Description: Close view of Bushman Rock Shelter

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    #1291

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [3]
    Description: Entry of Bushman Rock Shelter

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    #1293

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [3]
    Description: Location of the excavated zone (delimited by the wooden fence) at Bushman Rock Shelter

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    #1295

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [3]
    Description: View of the West Profile of Bushman Rock Shelter

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    #1297

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [3]
    Description: View of the South and East Profile of Bushman Rock Shelter

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    #1304

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [2]
    Description: Unpublished photography of the child burial “Skankwan” from Bushman Rock Shelter (from Eloff’s personal documents).

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    #1307

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [2]
    Description: Bushman Rock Shelter during excavation (courtesy I. Plug, centre left).

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    #1309

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [2]
    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”.

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    #1313

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Re: Bushman Rock Shelter Fossil 2

    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.

     

    We decide to call the skeleton “Skankwan”

    Source: [2]

    #1314

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Re: Bushman Rock Shelter Fossil 1

    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).

    Source: [2]

    #1315

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [2]

    …Another two human remains in the form of cuboid fragments were collected from MSA units (layers 28(a) and 29(1)) (Badenhorst & Plug 2012).

    #1322

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [6]
    Description: Bushman Rock Shelter infant mandible

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