DOI link for HOMINID ASSOCIATIONS
HOMINID ASSOCIATIONS book
With the foregoing discussion, I have tried to demonstrate that the limited nature of early cultural remains in South Africa is determined by the special circumstances required for their accumulation and preservation. With an increased level of research activity this decade, we can only hope that more finds will surface, particularly more finds associated with hominids, as we know very little about the species responsible for artefacts older than 1.5 myr. At Sterkfontein, tool making has been attributed either to Telanthropus (Robinson 1958), now referred to as Homo ergaster, or more recently to Homo habilis, due to the discovery of the StW 53 cranium at the southern end of the archaeological deposits, Member 5 (Hughes and Tobias 1977; and see Figure 6.1). However, new excavations now suggest that the stratigraphy in this area of the site should be reinterpreted (Clarke 1994a). We now believe that some artefacts ‘associated’ with the cranium actually belong to a later breccia lying in contact with the StW 53 infill, whilst others appear to have infiltrated the deposit through the soft decalcified sediments of a solution pocket that contained part of the cranium. Our recent excavation of cemented, intact StW 53 breccia has not uncovered any artefacts in true association with the hominid (Kuman and Clarke 1996; Clarke, in press). As this breccia appears to be the first infill to succeed the australopithecine bearing Member 4 breccia (Clarke 1994a), it should fall somewhere in time between 2.6 and 2.0 myr.