Heritage Cases

Proposal for the study of the ochre assemblage at Klipdrift Rock Shelter (KDS)




Case Type: 


The goal of this project is to systematically document and analyze the ochre and mineral pigment assemblage from the Klipdrift Shelter site (KDS) located in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, southern Cape, South Africa. Specific aspects regarding the use of pigments at the site are still yet unexplored. Overall, this project will contribute to an ever-growing body of research on the role of the southern Cape in the emergence and evolution of modern human behaviours.


Project Objectives In order to achieve my research goal of understanding the relationship between early pigment use during the South African MSA at the site of KDS, I plan to employ the following objectives: 1. Understand the diachronic spread of KDS ochre assemblage, including artefacts with ochre residues and physical ochre pieces; 2. Investigate the ochre surfaces reported during excavation at KDS during 2013, 2014; 3. Conduct a provenance assessment of KDS ochres with larger discussion of impacts of climate and environment on ochre behaviours and collection strategies. Methods To achieve these goals, I will employ the following methods (numbers relate to objective numbers): 1. Document and catalogue entire KDS ochre assemblage (Qualitative) a. Weight, size, colour, morphology of ochre artefacts, including detailed photos. b. Create digital database of ochre assemblage which can be used for future research within and outside of South Africa. 2. Analyze sediment samples collected from ochre surface units PBC-PBE a. Embed part of sample in resin in order to maintain spatial integrity b. Non-destructively analyze these using optical petrography, scanning electronic microscopy equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and in-situ µRaman Spectroscopy (University of Bergen). 3. Analyze ochres and ochre-related artefacts and compare these to previously collected geological samples a. Examine ochres non-destructively using microscopy, SEM-EDS, and portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) (University of Bergen) b. Compare these data to previously collected geological samples from the Western Cape to identify potential sources c. Compare collection patterns to climate and environmental data


Monday, December 21, 2020 - 12:17





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