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Stone Age Population Numbers and Average Tortoise Size at Byneskranskop Cave 1 and Die Kelders Cave 1, Southern Cape Province, South Africa

Richard G. Klein and Kathryn Cruz-Uribe
The South African Archaeological Bulletin
Vol. 38, No. 137 (Jun., 1983), pp. 26-30
DOI: 10.2307/3888212
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3888212
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Stone Age Population Numbers and Average Tortoise Size at Byneskranskop Cave 1 and Die Kelders Cave 1, Southern Cape Province, South Africa
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Abstract

Measurements on humeri of the angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata) from Byneskranskop Cave 1 and Die Kelders Cave 1 show that the average size of tortoises collected by local Middle and Later Stone Age people shifted through time. On average, the Later Stone Age occupants of Byneskranskop took much larger tortoises between 13 000 and 6000 B.P. than they did after 6000 B.P. The probable reason is that the relatively warm/dry climate before 6000 B.P. restricted human numbers, promoted tortoise numbers, or both. This led to lighter human collecting pressure on the tortoise population. The Middle Stone Age people who occupied Die Kelders 1 between ?75 000 and ?50 000 B.P. also took very large tortoises. In this instance, the associated climate was cool and wet, which is unlikely to have promoted tortoise numbers. Large tortoise size therefore probably reflects low human population density, as a result of a low level of hunting and gathering technology.

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