Early Archeological Evidence for Shellfish Collecting

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Science  08 Sep 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4359, pp. 911-913
DOI: 10.1126/science.201.4359.911


Geologic evidence, supported by infinite carbon-14 dates and Middle Stone Age cultural associations, indicates that two open-air shell middens recently found at Sea Harvest and Hoedjies Punt, Saldanha Bay, South Africa, date from the terminal part of the Last Interglacial, about 70,000 to 60,000 years ago. These middens are among the oldest known records for systematic human exploitation of marine resources anywhere in the world. The faunal contents of the middens suggest that the Middle Stone Age people who accumulated them utilized marine resources less intensively than their Later Stone Age successors in similar coastal settings.