Sibudu Cave, about 40 km north of Durban and 15 km inland of the Indian Ocean, is a rock shelter perched on a steep cliff 20 m above the Tongati River, also known as uThongathi River, in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. During a marine regression, the river cut its bed into the Natal Group sandstone cliff, which led to the formation of the shelter. The bedrock and sediments of the shelter slope steeply from north to south. The excavation area is located at an altitude of approximately 100 m above mean sea-level in the northern part of the shelter, where the deposits are thickest. Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction from sedge seeds and faunal remains indicate a mosaic of habitats during all occupation layers of Sibudu.

The stratigraphy is predominantly composed of anthropogenic deposits, including numerous ashy and charcoal-rich lenses that are related to combustion events. The over 3 m deep cultural sequence mainly consists of MSA layers spanning a time range of older than 77 to 37 ka BP.

The sequence includes occupations that are characteristic for the final MSA, late MSA, post HP, HP and SB. The lowermost layers excavated by Lyn Wadley, University of Witwatersrand, are Light Brownish Grey (LBG) and Brown Sand (BS), after which a team of the Univerity of Tübingen directed by Nicholas Conard took the head of the excavation.

For more details, see:

ROTS, V., C. LENTFER, V.C. SCHMID, G. PORRAZ & N.J. CONARD. 2017. Pressure to serrate points for the hunt: Serrated points used as hafted projectiles at Sibudu Cave, South Africa, PLoS ONE 12(4): e0175151, 61pp.

DE LA PENA, P., N. TAIPALE, L. WADLEY & V. ROTS. 2018. A techno-functional perspective on quartz micro-notches in Sibudu’s Howiesons Poort indicates the use of barbs in hunting technology, Journal of Archaeological Science 93: 166-195.