Were snares and traps used in the Middle Stone Age and does it matter? A review and a case study from Sibudu, South Africa

Citation

Material Information

Title:
Were snares and traps used in the Middle Stone Age and does it matter? A review and a case study from Sibudu, South Africa
Series Title:
Journal of Human Evolution
Creator:
Wadley, Lyn
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Complex Cognition ( local )
Snares And Traps ( local )
Middle Stone Age ( local )
Sibudu ( local )
Small Mammals ( local )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

Notes

Abstract:
The concept of remote capture involved in the creation and use of snares and traps is one of several indicators that can be used for the recognition of enhanced working memory and complex cognition. It can be argued that this humble technology is a more reliable indicator of complex cognition than encounter hunting, for example with spears. It is difficult to recognize snares and traps archaeologically because they are generally made from materials that do not preserve well. To infer their presence in the past, it is therefore necessary to rely on circumstantial evidence such as mortality profiles, taxonomic diversity and high frequencies of creatures that are susceptible to capture in snares or traps. Clearly there are some problems with using snares to infer complex cognition because people do not necessarily choose meat-getting strategies with the lowest costs. Although snares make economic sense because they reduce search costs, their use by modern hunters is not associated with the type of status accorded to other means of hunting. Social demands, more than economic or environmental ones, may consequently have determined the amount of snaring and trapping that occurred in the past. Because of social attitudes, an absence of snaring need not mean that people were incapable of using this technique. At Sibudu, a South African Middle Stone Age site, snares or other non-selective capture techniques may have been used during the Howiesons Poort and perhaps also the Still Bay Industry. The circumstantial evidence consists of 1. high frequency representations of animals that prefer forested environments, including the tiny blue duiker (adult and juvenile) and the dangerous bushpig, 2. high frequencies of small mammals, 3. high taxonomic diversity and, 4. the presence of small carnivores. Importantly, the Howiesons Poort faunal assemblage is different from that in more recent Middle Stone Age occupations of the site.
Original Version:
Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 58, no. 2 (2010-02-01).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.

USFLDC Membership

Aggregations:
University of South Florida
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information

Format:
serial

printinsert_linkshareget_appmore_horiz

Download Options

close

No images or PDF downloads are available for this resource.


Cite this item close

APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.