BENJAMIN ROBERT COLLINS, then a student at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Middle Stone Age Subsistence Strategies during the late MSA at Sibudu Cave, South Africa,' supervised by Dr. Andre Costopoulos. This research project was designed to collect data for a taphonomic analysis and a re-examination of the unidentifiable portion of the faunal assemblages from the late (~48,000 years ago) and final (~38,000 years ago) Middle Stone Age layers of Sibudu Cave, South Africa. These periods present a shift in the faunal assemblages through time that are the result of changes in human subsistence patterns. Understanding the nature of this shift is the focus of this research. The recently completed fieldwork portion of this study has generated data that can now be used to assess how the interplay of social, technological, and environmental factors contributed to changes in the range and abundance of fauna available, which fauna were hunted, changes in the climate and landscape, and changing demographic pressures. It is hypothesised that all of these factors would have all contributed to the observed changes in subsistence patterns. The data that has been collected will allow for an analysis of the extent to which each factor impacted the past foragers and affected cultural change. This research will therefore contribute to understanding the behavioral variability that characterizes the late Middle Stone Age and test the notion of a transition to the Later Stone Age.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Collins, Benjamin Robert, McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'Middle Stone Age Subsistence Strategies during the late MSA at Sibudu Cave, South Africa,' supervised by Dr. Andre Costopoulos