• burned bone;
  • Middle Stone Age;
  • Sibudu Cave;
  • taphonomy;
  • zooarchaeology


This study applies a taphonomic analysis to the final Middle Stone Age faunal assemblage from Sibudu Cave, South Africa, by assessing bone surface modifications, breakage patterns and skeletal element abundances. Cut marks, percussion marks, severe fragmentation and the high frequency of burned bone combine to demonstrate that human behaviour was the principal agent in the assemblage's formation. These results are consistent with previous research on earlier occupations of Sibudu during the Middle Stone Age. Moreover, this assemblage is proposed to reflect regular site maintenance and cleaning. This conclusion is consistent with previous research that demonstrates systematic site maintenance during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu and emphasises this behaviour as being a consistent activity for Middle Stone Age foragers. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.