Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Parkington, John en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Van der Merwe, Nick en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Avery, Margaret en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Avery, Graham en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2016-11-07T17:49:29Z
dc.date.available 2016-11-07T17:49:29Z
dc.date.issued 1990 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Avery, G. 1990. Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22441
dc.description Bibliography: pages 171-197. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Avian remains in coastal archaeological samples from Eland's Bay Cave, Die Kelders Cave 1 and Nelson Bay Cave in the Cape Province, South Africa, cover the periods between 80 000 and 40 000 B.P. and 18 000 and 300 B.P. Results of modern comparative surveys indicate that beached birds provide a predictable food supply. Kolmogorov-Smirnov two-sample nonparametric tests confirmed the close resemblance between the relative proportions of seabirds in archaeological and beached assemblages and earlier assumptions that the composition of seabird samples in archaeological sites could not otherwise have been achieved. It is shown that this simple but effective practice has a history going well into the Middle Stone Age. Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests for differences between the relative proportions of skeletal elements of Cape cormorants preserved in archaeological and modern jackal accumulations provided a useful means of drawing attention to possible activity of jackals and/or domesticated dogs. Recognition that diagenesis in some earlier samples may mimic the characteristics of modern jackal samples has established the need to extend the comparison of skeletal elements to additional species and to study the relative durability of avian skeletal elements. Similar comparison with the proportions of modern mammalian and avian predator prey species and size (mass) categories provided no indication that black or martial eagles might have contributed to the samples. Similarly, present knowledge of Cape eagle owls argues against their being likely inhabitants of caves suitable for occupation by people. It is concluded that people were the primary accumulators of the assemblages studied and that the role of small food items in prehistoric subsistence can be addressed with greater confidence. Correspondence analysis was used to determine the existence of seasonality in the modern beached seabird samples. The profiles of the archaeological samples are plotted in relation to months in which they were most likely to have been collected. Seasonal evidence from species not subjected to the correspondence analysis supported these results. The results obtained closely supported the hypothesis for seasonal exploitation of the coast. It was also possible to indicate that visits were probably of short duration and that their timing varied. Exploitation of seabirds did not coincide with the period of maximum availability of beached birds. Comparison of the avian evidence with that from seals, Cape dune mole rats and steenbok/grysbok suggested that small food items comprised part of a seasonal strategy that made maximum use of a range of seasonal resources. Evidence for significant local environmental change in addition to, and in support of, existing information has been obtained. Fluctuations in marine, freshwater and terrestrial birds at Eland's Bay Cave have been related to evidence for changes in terminal Pleistocene and Holocene sea levels and the position of the coast, and in the morphology of Verlorenvlei. At Die Kelders Cave 1 between 80 000 and 40 000 B.P., previously drier conditions were ameliorating and mixed scrub and grass and freshwater existed on the coastal foreland in the vicinity of the cave. Fluctuations in frequencies of seabirds indicate that the sea level rose slightly and then receded during the period of deposition. At Nelson Bay Cave samples indicate the approach of the coast after the Last Glacial Maximum, the disappearance of grassland and its replacement by scrub and bush as significant elements of the vegetation. Freshwater birds did not respond as expected, however, indicating that their interpretation at Nelson Bay Cave is complex and not consistent with evidence for wetter or drier conditions. A possible link has been shown to exist between fluctuations of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters at Nelson Bay Cave and the intensity of wind patterns which are related to oceanic and atmospheric circulation. Further investigation should establish whether seabirds would provide an index of climatic conditions without support from other sources. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Animal remains (Archaeology) - South Africa - Western Cape en_ZA
dc.subject.other Paleontology - South Africa - Western Cape - Quaternary en_ZA
dc.subject.other Paleoecology - South Africa - Western Cape en_ZA
dc.subject.other Archaeology en_ZA
dc.title Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa en_ZA
dc.type Doctoral Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Archaeology en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Avery, G. (1990). <i>Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Archaeology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22441 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Avery, Graham. <i>"Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Archaeology, 1990. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22441 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Avery G. Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Archaeology, 1990 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22441 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Avery, Graham AB - Avian remains in coastal archaeological samples from Eland's Bay Cave, Die Kelders Cave 1 and Nelson Bay Cave in the Cape Province, South Africa, cover the periods between 80 000 and 40 000 B.P. and 18 000 and 300 B.P. Results of modern comparative surveys indicate that beached birds provide a predictable food supply. Kolmogorov-Smirnov two-sample nonparametric tests confirmed the close resemblance between the relative proportions of seabirds in archaeological and beached assemblages and earlier assumptions that the composition of seabird samples in archaeological sites could not otherwise have been achieved. It is shown that this simple but effective practice has a history going well into the Middle Stone Age. Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests for differences between the relative proportions of skeletal elements of Cape cormorants preserved in archaeological and modern jackal accumulations provided a useful means of drawing attention to possible activity of jackals and/or domesticated dogs. Recognition that diagenesis in some earlier samples may mimic the characteristics of modern jackal samples has established the need to extend the comparison of skeletal elements to additional species and to study the relative durability of avian skeletal elements. Similar comparison with the proportions of modern mammalian and avian predator prey species and size (mass) categories provided no indication that black or martial eagles might have contributed to the samples. Similarly, present knowledge of Cape eagle owls argues against their being likely inhabitants of caves suitable for occupation by people. It is concluded that people were the primary accumulators of the assemblages studied and that the role of small food items in prehistoric subsistence can be addressed with greater confidence. Correspondence analysis was used to determine the existence of seasonality in the modern beached seabird samples. The profiles of the archaeological samples are plotted in relation to months in which they were most likely to have been collected. Seasonal evidence from species not subjected to the correspondence analysis supported these results. The results obtained closely supported the hypothesis for seasonal exploitation of the coast. It was also possible to indicate that visits were probably of short duration and that their timing varied. Exploitation of seabirds did not coincide with the period of maximum availability of beached birds. Comparison of the avian evidence with that from seals, Cape dune mole rats and steenbok/grysbok suggested that small food items comprised part of a seasonal strategy that made maximum use of a range of seasonal resources. Evidence for significant local environmental change in addition to, and in support of, existing information has been obtained. Fluctuations in marine, freshwater and terrestrial birds at Eland's Bay Cave have been related to evidence for changes in terminal Pleistocene and Holocene sea levels and the position of the coast, and in the morphology of Verlorenvlei. At Die Kelders Cave 1 between 80 000 and 40 000 B.P., previously drier conditions were ameliorating and mixed scrub and grass and freshwater existed on the coastal foreland in the vicinity of the cave. Fluctuations in frequencies of seabirds indicate that the sea level rose slightly and then receded during the period of deposition. At Nelson Bay Cave samples indicate the approach of the coast after the Last Glacial Maximum, the disappearance of grassland and its replacement by scrub and bush as significant elements of the vegetation. Freshwater birds did not respond as expected, however, indicating that their interpretation at Nelson Bay Cave is complex and not consistent with evidence for wetter or drier conditions. A possible link has been shown to exist between fluctuations of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters at Nelson Bay Cave and the intensity of wind patterns which are related to oceanic and atmospheric circulation. Further investigation should establish whether seabirds would provide an index of climatic conditions without support from other sources. DA - 1990 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 1990 T1 - Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa TI - Avian fauna, palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology in the late quaternary of the Western and Southern Cape, South Africa UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22441 ER - en_ZA


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