Comportamento ritualizado na Média Idade da Pedra: evidências em Botswana

quarta-feira, junho 01, 2011

Ritualized Behavior in the Middle Stone Age: Evidence from Rhino Cave, Tsodilo Hills, Botswana


Department of Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, Conservation, and History, Blindernveien 11 (Post Box 1019) University of Oslo,

0315 Oslo, NORWAY;


Department of Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, Conservation, and History, University of Oslo, 0315 Oslo, NORWAY;


8 Andrew Joss St., Mossel Bay 6506, SOUTH AFRICA;


Rhino Cave, located at the World Heritage site of Tsodilo Hills, is one of the three main Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites in Botswana. Initial investigations during the mid-1990s left unanswered a number of key questions regarding the early use of the cave. This prompted the current investigations, which have unearthed a wealth of MSA artifacts from a lag deposit. Results of a selectively employed chaîne opératoire analysis have revealed a very special set of behavioral patterns. It will be argued that the best-fit interpretation of the results from this investigation lies within the realm of ritualized behavior. The assemblage is characterized by an unexpectedly large number of MSA points, which are for the most part produced in non-locally acquired raw materials. These points are colorful, carefully and often elaborately made, and, once complete, never left the cave. They were either deliberately burned to the point where they could no longer be used, abandoned, or intentionally smashed. These artifacts were found together with tabular grinding slabs and pieces of the locally available pigment, specularite. This assemblage was recovered directly beneath a massive, virtually free-standing rock face that has been carved with hundreds of cupules of varying sizes and shapes. A section of the carved rock face was recovered from well within the MSA deposits in association with handheld grinding stones.