'Trapping the past'? Hunting for remote capture techniques and planned coastal exploitation during MIS 5 at Blombos Cave and Klasies River, South Africa

Gerrit L. Dusseldorp, Geeske H.J. Langejans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We review indications for the behavioural complexity of foraging strategies during Marine Isotope Stage 5 (∼130 - 74 ka) at Blombos Cave and Klasies River, South Africa. Although the sites were occupied by anatomically modern humans, it is debated whether they were also behaviourally modern. The exploitation of terrestrial small nocturnal browsers may be an indication for the use of complex foraging strategies such as trapping or net-hunting. Hence we analyse the terrestrial fauna of the sites in terms of represented size classes, dietary preference and activity patterns. Seasonally planned coastal visits are also considered 'modern' and may be recognised by the presence of large numbers of adult male seals and by shellfish only accessible at low tide. We therefore analyse the representation of marine mammals and the represented molluscs in terms of their habitat preference. Our study suggests that trapping and net-hunting were practised in Marine Isotope Stage 5. In addition, coastal visits were probably planned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalAnalecta Praehistorica Leidensia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

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