THE EARLIEST SOUTH AFRICAN SITES
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THE EARLIEST SOUTH AFRICAN SITES book
The Transvaal caves are not living sites but underground caverns that preserve traces of surface occupations within the catchment of a cave opening (Brain 1958, 1981; Partridge 1978; Vrba 1981; Kuman 1994a). The one exception that has been suggested most likely to represent a habitable cave is Swartkrans during the accumulation of the Member 3 infill (Brain 1993:262-3). Here, fire management has been proposed based on the chemical analysis of burnt bone and its configuration in the deposit, although the artefact accumulation is limited and does not reflect occupation debris (Clark 1993:167). Even if Member 3 does not represent a major occupation of the cave at this early date, cut-and chopmarked bones attest to surface occupations with significant human involvement in the faunal assemblage (Brain 1993:261-3). This has not been demonstrated for the preceding faunal assemblages from Swartkrans, nor for Sterkfontein or other less well-studied caves in the region. Estimated at c. 1 myr old, Swartkrans Member 3 is one of the youngest infills under study.