A technological analysis of cryptocrystalline silicate bladelets from Holkrans Rock Shelter in the Vredefort Dome, North West Province, South Africa.

Breaking from traditional typological classification, this project utilizes the principle of chaîne opératoire to conduct a technological analysis of a sample of cryptocrystalline silicate (CCS) cores, bipolar debitage and, blade and bladelets from Holkrans rock shelter in the Vredefort Dome, North West Province. Approaches to lithic material of the Later Stone Age in southern Africa have been predominantly typological, with a few recent studies focused on technological analysis. Holkrans rock shelter presents an opportunity to conduct a technological analysis in an area abundant with rock types that complicate standard typology. Chaîne opératoire is employed to understand how cores were reduced and the processes and techniques that were used to produce blades and bladelets within the chert-dominated CCS sample. Previous research at Holkrans noticed differences in the occurrence of various raw materials across the two occupational horizons (ceramic and pre-ceramic), and suggested possible differences in technology between the two phases (Bradfield & Sadr 2011; Banhegyi 2011). Analysis of chert and opaline raw material types in the present study revealed substantial differences in lithic technology moving from the pre-ceramic across to the ceramic phase. A major shift in the overall knapping technique occurred as the result of a change in the objectives of the reduction strategy.
BSc Honours Research Report in Archaeology
Later Stone Age, Stone tools, lithic technology, Vredefort Dome