Why Was Silcrete Heat-Treated in the Middle Stone Age? An Early Transformative Technology in the Context of Raw Material Use at Mertenhof Rock Shelter, South Africa
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{"title"=>"Why was silcrete heat-treated in the Middle Stone Age? An early transformative technology in the context of raw material use at Mertenhof rock shelter, South Africa", "type"=>"journal", "authors"=>[{"first_name"=>"Patrick", "last_name"=>"Schmidt", "scopus_author_id"=>"57191366660"}, {"first_name"=>"Alex", "last_name"=>"Mackay", "scopus_author_id"=>"35942229400"}], "year"=>2016, "source"=>"PLoS ONE", "identifiers"=>{"scopus"=>"2-s2.0-84959431981", "pmid"=>"26867145", "sgr"=>"84959431981", "doi"=>"10.1371/journal.pone.0149243", "issn"=>"19326203", "pui"=>"608575264"}, "id"=>"24568fec-91f5-3733-bad8-d5256096f275", "abstract"=>"People heat treated silcrete during the Middle Stone Age (MSA) in southern Africa but the spatial and temporal variability of this practice remains poorly documented. This paucity of data in turn makes it difficult to interrogate the motive factors underlying the application of this technique. In this paper we present data on heat treatment of silcrete through the Howiesons Poort and post-Howiesons Poort of the rock shelter site Mertenhof, located in the Western Cape of South Africa. In contrast to other sites where heat treatment has been documented, distance to rock source at Mertenhof can be reasonably well estimated, and the site is known to contain high proportions of a diversity of fine grained rocks including silcrete, hornfels and chert at various points through the sequence. Our results suggest the prevalence of heat treatment is variable through the sequence but that it is largely unaffected by the relative abundance of silcrete prevalence. Instead there is a strong inverse correlation between frequency of heat treatment in silcrete and prevalence of chert in the assemblage, and a generally positive correlation with the proportion of locally available rock. While it is difficult to separate individual factors we suggest that, at Mertenhof at least, heat treatment may have been used to improve the fracture properties of silcrete at times when other finer grained rocks were less readily available. As such, heat treatment appears to have been a component of the MSA behavioural repertoire that was flexibly deployed in ways sensitive to other elements of technological organisation.", "link"=>"http://www.mendeley.com/research/silcrete-heattreated-middle-stone-age-early-transformative-technology-context-raw-material-mertenhof", "reader_count"=>16, "reader_count_by_academic_status"=>{"Professor > Associate Professor"=>1, "Researcher"=>3, "Student > Ph. D. Student"=>3, "Student > Master"=>2, "Other"=>1, "Student > Bachelor"=>1, "Lecturer"=>1, "Professor"=>4}, "reader_count_by_user_role"=>{"Professor > Associate Professor"=>1, "Researcher"=>3, "Student > Ph. D. Student"=>3, "Student > Master"=>2, "Other"=>1, "Student > Bachelor"=>1, "Lecturer"=>1, "Professor"=>4}, "reader_count_by_subject_area"=>{"Unspecified"=>2, "Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology"=>1, "Arts and Humanities"=>7, "Social Sciences"=>4, "Earth and Planetary Sciences"=>1, "Economics, Econometrics and Finance"=>1}, "reader_count_by_subdiscipline"=>{"Social Sciences"=>{"Social Sciences"=>4}, "Earth and Planetary Sciences"=>{"Earth and Planetary Sciences"=>1}, "Economics, Econometrics and Finance"=>{"Economics, Econometrics and Finance"=>1}, "Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology"=>{"Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology"=>1}, "Unspecified"=>{"Unspecified"=>2}, "Arts and Humanities"=>{"Arts and Humanities"=>7}}, "reader_count_by_country"=>{"Brazil"=>1, "Portugal"=>1}, "group_count"=>1}

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  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844542"], "description"=>"<p>(a): Elevation model of southern Africa showing location of Mertenhof Rock Shelter (star) and other sites mentioned in the text (circles); BBC = Blombos Cave, DRS = Diepkloof Rock Shelter, KKH = Klein Kliphuis, KRM = Klasies River, PP13b = Pinnacle Point 13b. (b): Inset showing location of Mertenhof (star) relative to the Doring River (red line) and the boundary between the Cape System and Karoo System geological zones (white line). Other sites shown are 1 = Diepkloof, 2 = Klein Kliphuis, 3 = Hollow Rock Shelter, 4 = Klipfonteinrand, 5 = Putslaagte 8, 6 = Uitspankraal 7, 7 = Tweefontein. Digital elevation data from [<a href=\"http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243#pone.0149243.ref021\" target=\"_blank\">21</a>] (c): Lower panel shows a panorama of Mertenhof Rock Shelter (black circle) in the context of the kloof. The Ceberberg mountains are visible in the background on the right hand side of the image, and the shale-dominant Tra-traberge on the left.</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>1645101, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>["https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.g001"], "stats"=>{"downloads"=>0, "page_views"=>1, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/_Overview_and_position_of_Mertenhof_shelter_/1645101", "title"=>"Overview and position of Mertenhof shelter.", "pos_in_sequence"=>0, "defined_type"=>4, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 13:18:10"}
  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844548"], "description"=>"<p>(a-g): Different types of chert in the analysed Mertenhof assemblages. (h): Surface of unaltered and experimentally heat-treated silcrete showing the colour change upon heating. (j): Untransformed Mertenhof silcrete of the yellow type to which no heat treatment was applied. (i, k): Artefacts made from this same silcrete type that were heat-treated. (l): Mertenhof artefact made from grey silcrete. (m): the contrast between a pre- and a post-heating scar on the same artefact showing the difference of roughness. (a-g) and (i-l) all have the same scale. Note that the roughness of the surfaces in artefacts (i-l) cannot be estimated in these photos that were taken with frontal light.</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>1645104, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>["https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.g002"], "stats"=>{"downloads"=>1, "page_views"=>1, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/_Chert_and_heat_treated_silcrete_artefacts_in_Mertenhof_/1645104", "title"=>"Chert and heat-treated silcrete artefacts in Mertenhof.", "pos_in_sequence"=>0, "defined_type"=>4, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 13:18:10"}
  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844554"], "description"=>"<p>(a) By contexts (CT) and (b) by (sub)groupings. Chert percentages refer to the total number of artefacts in the contexts, heat-treated silcrete percentages refer to the number of silcrete artefacts in the contexts. The coefficient of determination of the correlation is r<sup>2</sup> = 0.973, p<0.001 for (a) and r<sup>2</sup> = 0.999, p<0.001 for (b).</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>1645107, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>["https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.g003"], "stats"=>{"downloads"=>1, "page_views"=>1, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/_Correlation_plots_showing_the_relation_of_the_percentage_of_chert_artefacts_in_relation_to_the_percentage_of_heat_treated_silcrete_/1645107", "title"=>"Correlation plots showing the relation of the percentage of chert artefacts in relation to the percentage of heat-treated silcrete.", "pos_in_sequence"=>0, "defined_type"=>4, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 13:18:10"}
  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844575"], "description"=>"<p>Raw material prevalence and implement types in the lithic sequence at MRS.</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>3115828, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>"https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.t001", "stats"=>{"downloads"=>0, "page_views"=>0, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/Raw_material_prevalence_and_implement_types_in_the_lithic_sequence_at_MRS_/3115828", "title"=>"Raw material prevalence and implement types in the lithic sequence at MRS.", "pos_in_sequence"=>6, "defined_type"=>3, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 08:39:07"}
  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844566"], "description"=>"<p>Cores/100 flakes are calculated from the total number of artefacts in the (sub)groupings and heat-treated silcrete percentages refer to the number of silcrete artefacts in the contexts. The coefficient of determination of the correlation is r<sup>2</sup> = 0.859, p = 0.073.</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>1645109, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>["https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.g005"], "stats"=>{"downloads"=>1, "page_views"=>1, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/_Correlation_plots_showing_the_relation_between_the_number_of_cores_flakes_and_heat_treated_silcrete_in_sub_groupings_/1645109", "title"=>"Correlation plots showing the relation between the number of cores/flakes and heat-treated silcrete in (sub)groupings.", "pos_in_sequence"=>0, "defined_type"=>4, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 13:18:10"}
  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844581"], "description"=>"<p>Frequency of heat treatment proxies on the silcrete artefacts for all contexts.</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>3115831, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>"https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.t002", "stats"=>{"downloads"=>0, "page_views"=>0, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/Frequency_of_heat_treatment_proxies_on_the_silcrete_artefacts_for_all_contexts_/3115831", "title"=>"Frequency of heat treatment proxies on the silcrete artefacts for all contexts.", "pos_in_sequence"=>7, "defined_type"=>3, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 08:39:07"}
  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844560"], "description"=>"<p>(a) By contexts (CT) and (b) by (sub)groupings. The non-local fine-grained / local coarse-grained materials ratio is calculated as the addition of the percentages of chert and DWS/hornfels divided by the percentage of quartzite in each context. Heat-treated silcrete percentages refer to the number of silcrete artefacts in the contexts. The coefficient of determination of the correlation is r<sup>2</sup> = 0.823, p = 0.005 for (a) and r<sup>2</sup> = 0.921, p = 0.040 for (b).</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>1645108, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>["https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.g004"], "stats"=>{"downloads"=>1, "page_views"=>2, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/_Correlation_plots_showing_the_relation_of_the_raw_material_spectrum_8217_s_shift_from_fine_grained_non_local_materials_towards_coarse_grained_local_quartzite_to_the_percentage_of_heat_treated_silcrete_/1645108", "title"=>"Correlation plots showing the relation of the raw material spectrum’s shift from fine-grained non-local materials towards coarse-grained local quartzite to the percentage of heat-treated silcrete.", "pos_in_sequence"=>0, "defined_type"=>4, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 13:18:10"}
  • {"files"=>["https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/4844590"], "description"=>"<p>Frequency of heat treatment proxies on the silcrete artefacts by industrial (sub)grouping relative to raw material proportions for main rock types.</p>", "links"=>[], "tags"=>["South Africa People heat", "Middle Stone Age", "rock shelter site Mertenhof", "silcrete", "Mertenhof Rock Shelter", "prevalence", "MSA behavioural repertoire", "heat treatment"], "article_id"=>3115834, "categories"=>["Microbiology", "Genetics", "Molecular Biology", "Biotechnology", "Evolutionary Biology", "Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Ecology", "Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified", "Infectious Diseases"], "users"=>["Patrick Schmidt", "Alex Mackay"], "doi"=>"https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149243.t003", "stats"=>{"downloads"=>0, "page_views"=>0, "likes"=>0}, "figshare_url"=>"https://figshare.com/articles/Frequency_of_heat_treatment_proxies_on_the_silcrete_artefacts_by_industrial_sub_grouping_relative_to_raw_material_proportions_for_main_rock_types_/3115834", "title"=>"Frequency of heat treatment proxies on the silcrete artefacts by industrial (sub)grouping relative to raw material proportions for main rock types.", "pos_in_sequence"=>8, "defined_type"=>3, "published_date"=>"2016-02-11 08:39:07"}

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Relative Metric

{"start_date"=>"2016-01-01T00:00:00Z", "end_date"=>"2016-12-31T00:00:00Z", "subject_areas"=>[]}
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