Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 91
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Bicho, Nuno Haws, Jonathan Raja, Mussa Madime, Omar Gonçalves, Célia Cascalheira, João Benedetti, Michael Pereira, Telmo and Aldeias, Vera 2016. Middle and Late Stone Age of the Niassa region, northern Mozambique. Preliminary results. Quaternary International, Vol. 404, p. 87.

    di Lernia, Savino Bruni, Silvia Cislaghi, Irina Cremaschi, Mauro Gallinaro, Marina Gugliemi, Vittoria Mercuri, Anna Maria Poggi, Giansimone and Zerboni, Andrea 2016. Colour in context. Pigments and other coloured residues from the Early-Middle Holocene site of Takarkori (SW Libya). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 381.

    Garofoli, Duilio 2016. Cognitive archaeology without behavioral modernity: An eliminativist attempt. Quaternary International, Vol. 405, p. 125.

    Högberg, Anders 2016. A Lithic Attribute Analysis on Blades from the Middle Stone Age Site, Hollow Rock Shelter, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Lithic Technology, Vol. 41, Issue. 2, p. 93.

    Iliopoulos, Antonis 2016. The material dimensions of signification: Rethinking the nature and emergence of semiosis in the debate on human origins. Quaternary International, Vol. 405, p. 111.

    Mounier, Aurélien Balzeau, Antoine Caparros, Miguel and Grimaud-Hervé, Dominique 2016. Brain, calvarium, cladistics: A new approach to an old question, who are modern humans and Neandertals?. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 92, p. 22.

    Reynard, Jerome P. Discamps, Emmanuel Badenhorst, Shaw van Niekerk, Karen and Henshilwood, Christopher S. 2016. Subsistence strategies in the southern Cape during the Howiesons Poort: Taphonomic and zooarchaeological analyses of Klipdrift Shelter, South Africa. Quaternary International, Vol. 404, p. 2.

    Roberts, Patrick 2016. ‘We have never been behaviourally modern’: The implications of Material Engagement Theory and Metaplasticity for understanding the Late Pleistocene record of human behaviour. Quaternary International, Vol. 405, p. 8.

    Hodgson, Derek and Watson, Benjamin 2015. The visual brain and the early depiction of animals in Europe and Southeast Asia. World Archaeology, Vol. 47, Issue. 5, p. 776.

    Rappaport, Margaret Boone and Corbally, Christopher 2015. MATRIX THINKING: AN ADAPTATION AT THE FOUNDATION OF HUMAN SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND ART. Zygon®, Vol. 50, Issue. 1, p. 84.

    Val, Aurore 2015. New data on the avifauna from the Middle Stone Age layers of Sibudu Cave, South Africa: Taphonomic and palaeoenvironmental implications. Quaternary International,

    Wadley, Lyn 2015. Those marvellous millennia: the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, Vol. 50, Issue. 2, p. 155.

    Zaidel, Dahlia W. 2015. Neuroesthetics is Not Just about Art. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol. 9,

    Backwell, Lucinda R. McCarthy, Terence S. Wadley, Lyn Henderson, Zoë Steininger, Christine M. Bonita deKlerk, Barré, Magali Lamothe, Michel Chase, Brian M. Woodborne, Stephan Susino, George J. Bamford, Marion K. Sievers, Christine Brink, James S. Rossouw, Lloyd Pollarolo, Luca Trower, Gary Scott, Louis and d'Errico, Francesco 2014. Multiproxy record of late Quaternary climate change and Middle Stone Age human occupation at Wonderkrater, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 99, p. 42.

    Bentsen, Silje Evjenth 2014. Using Pyrotechnology: Fire-related Features and Activities with a Focus on the African Middle Stone Age. Journal of Archaeological Research, Vol. 22, Issue. 2, p. 141.

    De Smedt, Johan and De Cruz, Helen 2014. THEIMAGO DEIAS A WORK IN PROGRESS: A PERSPECTIVE FROM PALEOANTHROPOLOGY. Zygon®, Vol. 49, Issue. 1, p. 135.

    Lewis, Laura Perera, Nimal and Petraglia, Michael 2014. First technological comparison of Southern African Howiesons Poort and South Asian Microlithic industries: An exploration of inter-regional variability in microlithic assemblages. Quaternary International, Vol. 350, p. 7.

    Mărgărit, Monica Radu, Valentin and Popovici, Dragomir Nicolae 2014. From operculum to bead: Production of pearls from opercular bones ofCyprinus carpioin the Romanian Eneolithic. Environmental Archaeology, p. 1.

    Miller, Jennifer Midori and Willoughby, Pamela Rae 2014. Radiometrically dated ostrich eggshell beads from the Middle and Later Stone Age of Magubike Rockshelter, southern Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 74, p. 118.

    Staurset, Sigrid and Coulson, Sheila 2014. Sub-surface movement of stone artefacts at White Paintings Shelter, Tsodilo Hills, Botswana: Implications for the Middle Stone Age chronology of central southern Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 75, p. 153.


What is Cultural Modernity? A General View and a South African Perspective from Rose Cottage Cave

  • Lyn Wadley (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 28 November 2001

Storage of symbolic information outside the human brain is accepted here as the first undisputed evidence for cultural modernity. In the hunter-gatherer context of the Stone Age this storage could include artwork, rapidly changing artefact styles and organized spatial layout of campsites. Modern human behaviour in this context is distinguished by a symbolic use of space and material culture to define social relationships, including significant groupings based on attributes such as kinship, gender, age or skill. Symbolism maintains, negotiates, legitimizes and transmits such relationships. It is argued here that artefacts are not inherently imbued with symbolism and that modern human culture cannot be automatically inferred from inventories of archaeologically recovered material culture. Evidence for the out-of-brain storage of symbolism in southern African sites first appears in the final phase of the Middle Stone Age at about 40,000 years ago.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *