La Trobe
1212871_Herries,A_2022.pdf (14.54 MB)

A marine isotope stage 11 coastal Acheulian workshop with associated wood at Amanzi Springs Area 1, South Africa

Download (14.54 MB)
Amanzi Springs is a series of inactive thermal springs located near Kariega in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Excavations in the 1960s exposed rare, stratified Acheulian-bearing deposits that were not further investigated over the next 50 years. Reanalysis of the site and its legacy collection has led to a redefined stratigraphic context for the archaeology, a confirmed direct association between Acheulian artefacts and wood, as well as the first reliable age estimates for the site. Thermally transferred optically stimulated luminescence and post-infrared infrared stimulated luminescence dating indicates that the Acheulian deposits from the Amanzi Springs Area 1 spring eye formed during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11 at ~ 404-390 ka. At this time, higher sea levels of ~13-14m would have placed Amanzi Springs around 7 km from a ria that would have formed along what is today the Swartkops River, and which likely led to spring reactivation. This makes the Amanzi Springs Area 1 assemblage an unusual occurrence of a verified late occurring, seaward, open-air Acheulian occupation. The Acheulian levels do not contain any Middle Stone Age (MSA) elements such as blades and points that have been documented in the interior of South Africa at this time. However, a small number of stone tools from the upper layers of the artefact zone, and originally thought of as intrusive, have been dated to ~190 ka, at the transition between MIS 7 to 6, and represent the first potential MSA identified at the site.


Publication Date



PLoS One





Article Number





Public Library of Science



Rights Statement

© 2022 Herries et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.