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The Howiesons Poort Backed Artefacts from Klasies River: An Argument for Symbolic Behaviour

Sarah Wurz
The South African Archaeological Bulletin
Vol. 54, No. 169 (Jun., 1999), pp. 38-50
DOI: 10.2307/3889138
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3889138
Page Count: 13
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The Howiesons Poort Backed Artefacts from Klasies River: An Argument for Symbolic Behaviour
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Abstract

A chaîne opératoire approach to the analysis of the Howiesons Poort backed artefacts from Klasies River main site was used to describe raw material acquisition, blank production and selection, modification through retouch and use. The results show that the process of making backed artefacts reflects the imposition of attributes of style. Style is equated with communication through the medium of symbols. The ability to manipulate symbols is termed symbolic behaviour and is characteristic of the sapient mind. It implies the use of language. On this evidence, the emergence of symbolic behaviour long preceded the Upper Palaeolithic.

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