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Radiocarbon Dates Constrain the Timing of Environmental and Cultural Shifts in the Holocene Strata of Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa

  • Michaela Ecker (a1) (a2), James Brink (a3) (a4), Michael Chazan (a2) (a5), Liora Kolska Horwitz (a6) and Julia A Lee-Thorp (a1)...

Wonderwerk Cave has yielded one of the longest and most complete Holocene Later Stone Age (LSA) records for the arid interior of South Africa. This paper presents the results of a new radiocarbon dating program for Excavation 1 that is explored within a Bayesian model of all existing Wonderwerk Cave radiocarbon (14C) dates for the Holocene. The proposed model, using Phases within an OxCal Sequence model, provides robust age estimates for changes in the technological and paleoenvironmental record at the site. The more precise dates allow a comparison of the timing of climate shifts across the interior of southern Africa and begin to allow us to identify whether hiatuses in human occupation, or cultural shifts, are synchronous across broader areas of the subcontinent, or not.

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