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Title: A preliminary analysis of the backed stone tool assemblage at Little Muck Shelter.
Authors: Forssman, Tim.
Van Zyl, Sonja.
School of Social Sciences
University of Pretoria
Keywords: Later stone age.;Hunter-gatherers.;Stone tools.;Use-wear.;Middle Limpopo valley.
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: South African Archaeological Society
Abstract: Little Muck Shelter in the middle Limpopo Valley has an unusually large density of scrapers that increase in frequency from the last few centuries BC into the first millennium AD, and then decline in the early second millennium. Scraper densities rise even when all other artefact categories decline. Backed tools, on the other hand, occur in low frequencies and it is unclear why. In this report, we present an analysis of the backed tool morphology and a preliminary examination of macro-fractures. We show that the backed tools are broadly similar to those found at other sites in the area but occur in different densities. We also identify diagnostic impact fractures on 10 of the 27 backed tools, which may indicate hunting. Our analysis demonstrates the potential of such a study in understanding the function of the shelter; for example, the low frequency of backed tools and abundance of scrapers may underscore the site’s function as a trade or exchange centre. The results help guide further research at the shelter.
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