Blombos Cave is an enormously important archaeological site on the south coast of South Africa. The Middle Stone Age occupations at the site are Howiesons Poort and Still Bay, during which the first elements of human behavioral modernity are in evidence as early as 100,000 years ago.
Evidence of the modern behaviors found at Blombos Cave published over the past several years has included shell beads, bone tools, the use of ochre, engraved objects and bone arrow points.
The latest report, published in Science magazine on October 28, 2010, reports on the identification of pressure flaking assisted by heat-treatment, a sophisticated stone tool working technology. Pressure flaking was previously considered an invention of the Upper Paleolithic: Mourre et al.'s research pushes back this technology some 20,000 years.
Sources and Further Information
Mourre V, Villa P, and Henshilwood C. 2010. Early use of pressure flaking on lithic artifacts at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Science 330:659-662.