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Matjes River

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Story of Sapiens 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #1105

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Matjes River

    Site Type:
    Fossil Site
    Location:
    South Africa
    Name:
    Matjes River
    Coordinates:
    https://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=-34&mlon=23.45&zoom=12#map=7/-34.000/23.450

    Notable Discoveries:
    NMB 1342
    Additional Notes:
    While some of the skeletons have archaeological provenance, a large number of the remains were commingled after excavation and stored by skeletal element (e.g. femur with femur), or with each other. To this date, the total number of skeletons removed from the site is unknown, approximations on the size of the collection ranges between 40 to 120 individuals. [4]

    NMB 1342

    Site:
    Matjes River
    Species:
    H. sapiens
    Year of Discovery:
    1930 – 1932 [3]
    1936 [5]
    Discovered by:
    T. F. Dreyer [5]
    Geological Age:
    10,120 years old [1][2][5]
    Cultural Attribution:

    Developmental Age:
    Adult [4]
    Presumed Sex:

    Preserved Skeletal Party:
    Skeletal fragments [5]
    Preservation:

    Preservation Details:

    Anatomical Description:

    Additional Notes:
    Original publication states: ‘left tibia, 4 lumbar vertebrae, 3 proximal phalanges, left 3rd and 4th rib, right patella, clavicle calcaneus, humerus’. Presumably this is the material they used to date the fossil, but it is unclear if more elements were excavated. [1]

    Sources:
    [1] – Supplementary material to: Pleistocene Homo and the updated Stone Age sequence of South Africa
    [2] – Early to mid-Holocene South African Later Stone Age human crania exhibit a distinctly Khoesan morphological pattern
    [3] – Afrika II: Südafrika: Human biological history of southern Africa
    [4] – The Matjes River Rock Shelter: A Description of the Skeletal Assemblage
    [5] – A Master Catalogue: Holocene Human Skeletons from South Africa (1993)

    #1111

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: [4]

    While some of the skeletons have archaeological provenance, a large number of the remains were commingled after excavation and stored by skeletal element (e.g. femur with femur), or with each other. To this date, the total number of skeletons removed from the site is unknown, approximations on the size of the collection ranges between 40 to 120 individuals.

     

    The Matjes River Rock Shelter was excavated in the 1920s by Dreyer (1933), and again in the 1950s by Hoffman and Meiring; the latter excavation lasted more than 30 years in which more than 2000 tons of soil, 30,000 artefacts, and an unknown number of human remains were removed.

     

    …two skeletons, described as coming from the uppermost layer of the site, have been radiocarbon dated to approximately 2,200 BP.

     

    Layers B,C and D, have properties that uniquely define them within the Holocene landscape of southern Africa. For instance, Layer B, due to the abundance of mussel shells found, is often referred to as the ‘Mytilus’ layer. Six skeletons from this level have been radiocarbon dated to between 3,600 and 2,200 BP.

     

    Layer C, also known as the ‘Wilton’ layer, contained a greater variety of microliths and artefacts such as ostrich egg-shell and ochre than the previous layer, indicating a different culture and period of occupation. Radiocarbon dates for nine Wilton skeletons are available and ranged between 5,000 and 7,400 BP.

     

    The oldest layer, D, contained reworked scrapers and bone tools considered to be similar to the Albany assemblage; at least three skeletons are associated with this layer, one of which was radiocarbon dated to 1,688 BP (+- 36).

     

    These skeletal remains form the largest conglomeration of material for the Later Stone Age in South Africa, and thus have, regardless of earlier excavation methods or commingling, considerable intrinsic value.

     

    Information about the skeletons can be accessed in the ‘Catalogue of Holocene Skeletons in South Africa’ in which Morris (1992) described the history, general contents, and provenance of 120 National Museum of Bloemfontein (NMB) catalogue numbers associated with the Matjes River excavations.

    #1115

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    Source: http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532007000400020

    The site of Matjes River Rock Shelter in the southern Cape has also produced several fragmentary human crania from its terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene Layer D. Unfortunately, only one individual from this layer, NMB 1342 (also designated MR 1), has been securely dated to the terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene (Table 1). Like UCT 378, NMB 1342 is a large, robust cranium which displays characteristic Khoesan facial morphology. The other fragmentary crania from Layer D display similar robust Khoesan-like morphology.

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    #1280

    Story of Sapiens
    Keymaster

    [5] contains approximately 120 fossil specimens that are yet to be added to this page. it remains to be seen if I will add them at this point.

     

    While some of the skeletons have archaeological provenance, a large number of the remains were commingled after excavation and stored by skeletal element (e.g. femur with femur), or with each other. To this date, the total number of skeletons removed from the site is unknown, approximations on the size of the collection ranges between 40 to 120 individuals. [4]”

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