Hjem
  • E-postKaren.Niekerk@uib.no
  • Telefon+47 55 58 38 14
  • Besøksadresse
    Øysteinsgate 3
  • Postadresse
    Postboks 7805
    5020 Bergen

Tracing the origins of behaviourally modern Homo sapiens in southern Africa

Our project focuses explicitly on the period between 100-50 ka (thousand years ago), a time of remarkable technological and behavioural expansion amongst ancestral modern humans. This project is unique and innovative in taking a macro and micro-scale approach to examine the links between material culture, innovation, subsistence and micro-environments. Currently we have only episodic views or ‘snapshots’ of early human behaviour. Also existing ages of occupations at post-100 ka archaeological sites in southern Africa are queried and need review, as does the reliance on environmental proxies disconnected from the human record. Focusing on the southern Cape, a key locus for early human occupation, our research teams analysed materials excavated from three Middle Stone Age archaeological sites Blombos Cave, Klipdrift Shelter, Klipdrift  Cave Lower and one Later Stone Age site, Klipdrift Cave. Our 2015-2016 published results about these sites have demonstrated their unequalled richness and integrity, and highlights their ground-breaking contribution to our understanding of modern humans in this region, indeed for Africa as a whole. The benefits of our team using precision excavation and recording techniques, innovative analytical and dating methods, and new theoretical approaches are demonstrated in our publications that highlight the behavioural innovations and subsistence practices that emerged in this region after 100 ka. Additionally our publications have directly linked these cultural records to changing environmental conditions observed in site-based archives. Our integrated macro- and microscale approach is defining a new paradigm in international archaeological research. With our inter-disciplinary team of archaeologists, dating specialists and climatologists, we believe that our research group will continue to establish a new scientific standard for assessing the relationships between human culture and the natural world in which it operates.

Utvalgte publikasjoner
  • Langejans, Geeske H.J.; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Dusseldorp, Gerrit L.; Thackeray, J. Francis. 2012. Middle Stone Age shellfish exploitation: Potential indications for mass collecting and resource intensification at Blombos Cave and Klasies River, South Africa. Quaternary International. 270: 80-94. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.09.003
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; d'Errico, Francesco; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Coquinot, Yvan; Jacobs, Zenobia; Lauritzen, Stein-Erik; Menu, Michel; Garcia-Moreno, Renata. 2011. A 100,000-Year-Old Ochre-Processing Workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Science. 334: 219-222. doi: 10.1126/science.1211535
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah; Delagnes, Anne; Armitage, Simon; Rifkin, Riaan; Douze, Katja; Keene, Petro; Haaland, Magnus Mathisen; Reynard, Jerome; Discamps, Emmanuel; Mienies, Samantha. 2014. Klipdrift Shelter, southern Cape, South Africa: preliminary report on the Howiesons Poort layers. Journal of Archaeological Science. 45: 284-303. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.01.033
  • Vanhaeren, Marian; d'Errico, Francesco; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher; Erasmus, Rudolph M. 2013. Thinking strings: Additional evidence for personal ornament use in the Middle Stone Age at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution. 64: 500-517. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.02.001
  • Badenhorst, Shaw; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2014. Rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis) from Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. African Archaeological Review. 31: 25-43. doi: 10.1007/s10437-014-9154-7
  • Harvati, Katerina; Bauer, Catherine C.; Grine, Frederick E.; Benazzi, Stefano; Ackerman, Rebecca Rogers; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2015. A human deciduous molar from the Middle Stone Age (Howiesons Poort) of Klipdrift Shelter, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution. 82: 190-196. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.03.001
  • Roberts, Patrick; Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Keene, Petro; Gledhill, Andrew; Reynard, Jerome; Badenhorst, Shaw; Lee-thorp, Julia. 2016. Climate, environment and early human innovation: Stable isotope and faunal proxy evidence from archaeological sites (98-59ka) in the southern Cape, South Africa. PLoS ONE. 11:e0157408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157408
  • Ryano, Kokeli Peter; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2017. The technology of the early Oakhurst lithic techno-complex from Klipdrift Cave, southern Cape, South Africa. African Archaeological Review. 34: 93-119. doi: 10.1007/s10437-017-9246-2
  • d'Errico, Francesco; Banks, William E.; Warren, Dan L.; Sgubin, Giovanni; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher; Daniau, A; Goñi, María Fernanda Sánchez. 2017. Identifying early modern human ecological niche expansions and associated cultural dynamics in the South African Middle Stone Age. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114: 7869-7876. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620752114
  • Badenhorst, Shaw; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2016. Large mammal remains from the 100 ka Middle Stone Age layers of Blombos Cave, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin. 71: 46-52.
  • Delagnes, Anne; Schmidt, Patrick; Douze, Katja; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah; Bellot-Gurlet, Ludovic; Conard, Nicholas J.; Nickel, Klaus; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2016. Early evidence for the extensive heat treatment of silcrete in the Howiesons Poort at Klipdrift Shelter (layer PBD, 65 ka), South Africa. PLoS ONE. 11:e0163874. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163874
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2016. What excavated beads tell us about the when and where of human evolution. The Conversation. Publisert 2016-01-28.
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Kjaergaard, Peter. 2016. Homo sapiens: Blombos Cave. 44, sider 273-276. I:
    • Nørskov, Vinnie; Pentz, Peter. 2016. 50 fund: Højdepunkter i arkæologien. Aarhus Universitetsforlag. 360 sider. ISBN: 9788771249286.
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Kjærgaard, Peter C. 2016. Blombos. Chapter 44. I:
    • Nørskov, Vinnie; Pentz, Peter. 2016. 50 fund: Højdepunkter i arkæologien. Aarhus Universitetsforlag. 360 sider. ISBN: 9788771249286.
  • Moyo, Stanley; Mphuti, Dikeledi; Cukrowska, Ewa; Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Chimuka, Luke. 2016. Blombos Cave: Middle Stone Age ochre differentiation through FTIR, ICP OES, ED XRF and XRD. Quaternary International. 404: 20-29. doi: doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.09.041
  • Reynard, Jerome; Discamps, Emmanuel; Badenhorst, Shaw; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2016. Subsistence strategies in the southern Cape during the Howiesons Poort: Taphonomic and zooarchaeological analyses of Klipdrift Shelter, South Africa. Quaternary International. 404: 2-19. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.07.041
  • Reynard, Jerome; Discamps, Emmanuel; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Badenhorst, Shaw; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2016. Occupational intensity and environmental changes during the Howiesons Poort at Klipdrift Shelter, southern Cape, South Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 449: 349-364. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.02.035
  • Roberts, Patrick; Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Keene, Petro; Gledhill, Andrew; Reynard, Jerome; Badenhorst, Shaw; Lee-thorp, Julia. 2016. Climate, environment and early human innovation: Stable isotope and faunal proxy evidence from archaeological sites (98-59ka) in the southern Cape, South Africa. PLoS ONE. 11:e0157408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157408
  • Archer, Will; Gunz, Philipp; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher; McPherron, Shannon P. 2015. Diachronic change within the Still Bay at Blombos Cave, South Africa. PLoS ONE. 10:e0132428. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132428
  • Harvati, Katerina; Bauer, Catherine C.; Grine, Frederick E.; Benazzi, Stefano; Ackerman, Rebecca Rogers; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2015. A human deciduous molar from the Middle Stone Age (Howiesons Poort) of Klipdrift Shelter, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution. 82: 190-196. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.03.001
  • d'Errico, Francesco; Vanhaeren, Marian; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher; Erasmus, Rudolph M. 2015. Assessing the accidental versus deliberate color modification of shell beads. A case study on perforated Nassarius kraussianus from Blombos Cave Middle Stone Age levels. Archaeometry. 57: 51-76. doi: 10.1111/arcm.12072
  • Badenhorst, Shaw; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2014. Rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis) from Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. African Archaeological Review. 31: 25-43. doi: 10.1007/s10437-014-9154-7
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2014. Blombos Cave: The Middle Stone Age Levels. 240. I:
    • Smith, Claire M. 2014. Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology. Springer. 8013 sider. ISBN: 978-1-4419-0426-3.
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah; Delagnes, Anne; Armitage, Simon; Rifkin, Riaan; Douze, Katja; Keene, Petro; Haaland, Magnus Mathisen; Reynard, Jerome; Discamps, Emmanuel; Mienies, Samantha. 2014. Klipdrift Shelter, southern Cape, South Africa: preliminary report on the Howiesons Poort layers. Journal of Archaeological Science. 45: 284-303. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.01.033
  • d'Errico, Francesco; Henshilwood, Christopher; Garcia-Moreno, Renata; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Coquinot, Yvan; Menu, Michel; Jacobs, Zenobia; Lauritzen, Stein-Erik. 2014. Il y a 100 000 ans, un atelier pour la préparation et le stockage de mélanges pigmentés. Paleo. 117-124.
  • Langejans, Geeske H.J.; Dusseldorp, Gerrit L.; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher. 2013. A hazy shade of winter: Late Pleistocene environments and behavioural adaptations at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Chapter 2, sider 19-51. I:
    • Runge, Juergen. 2013. Palaeoecology of Africa. CRC Press. 238 sider. ISBN: 9781138001169.
  • Vanhaeren, Marian; d'Errico, Francesco; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Henshilwood, Christopher; Erasmus, Rudolph M. 2013. Thinking strings: Additional evidence for personal ornament use in the Middle Stone Age at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution. 64: 500-517. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.02.001
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2012. Middle Stone Age Chemists - a 100 000-year-old pigment processing workshop at Blombos Cave. The Digging Stick. 29: 1-5.
  • Langejans, Geeske H.J.; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Dusseldorp, Gerrit L.; Thackeray, J. Francis. 2012. Middle Stone Age shellfish exploitation: Potential indications for mass collecting and resource intensification at Blombos Cave and Klasies River, South Africa. Quaternary International. 270: 80-94. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.09.003
  • Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2012. Trekking the Shore. Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement. Bicho, N.F., Haws, J.A. & Davis, L.G. (editors) 2011. New York: Springer. I–XXX 496 pp. ISBN 978-1- 4419-8218-6 (hardback). South African Archaeological Bulletin. 67: 150-151.
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; d'Errico, Francesco; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Coquinot, Yvan; Jacobs, Zenobia; Lauritzen, Stein-Erik; Menu, Michel; Garcia-Moreno, Renata. 2011. A 100,000-Year-Old Ochre-Processing Workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Science. 334: 219-222. doi: 10.1126/science.1211535
  • Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2011. Marine fish exploitation during the Middle and Later Stone Age of South Africa. University of Cape Town.
  • d'Errico, Francesco; Vanhaeren, Marian; Henshilwood, Christopher; Lawson, Graeme; Maureille, Bruno; Gambier, Dominique; Tillier, Anne-Marie; Soressi, Marie; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2009. From the origin of language to the diversification of languages: What can archaeology and palaeoanthropology say? -, sider 13-68. I:
    • d'Errico, Francesco; Hombert, Jean-Marie. 2009. Becoming Eloquent: Advances in the emergence of language, human cognition, and modern cultures. John Benjamins Publishing Company. 289 sider. ISBN: 9789027232694.
  • Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2005. The Archaeology of Fishing: Establishing a Comparative Collection and Subsequent Analysis of Marine Fish Bone from Holocene levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. UiB.
  • d'Errico, Francesco; Henshilwood, Christopher; Vanhaeren, Marian; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise. 2005. Nassarius kraussianus shell beads from Blombos Cave: evidence for symbolic behaviour in the Middle Stone Age. Journal of Human Evolution. 48: 3-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2004.09.002
  • Henshilwood, Christopher; Sealy, Judy; Yates, Royden; Cruz-Uribe, Kathy; Goldberg, Paul; Grine, Frederick E.; Klein, Richard; Poggenpoel, Cedric; Van Niekerk, Karen Loise; Watts, Iain. 2001. Blombos Cave, southern Cape, South Africa: Preliminary report on the 1992 – 1999 excavations of the Middle Stone Age levels. Journal of Archaeological Science. 421-448.

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