In “Modern culture began in South Africa 44,000 years ago” (New Scientist,
30 July 2012), Hannah Krakauer reports,
In Europe, the Upper Palaeolithic – another term for the Later Stone Age – is commonly dated to around 45,000 years ago. In South Africa the archaeological evidence suggests the Later Stone Age did not begin until much later – around 22,000 years ago.
Perhaps no longer, though. Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in Boulder, and her colleagues, have delved deep into the layers of Border Cave in South Africa, and found that Middle Stone Age tool-making techniques were giving way to Later Stone Age technology by 44,000 years ago. For instance, stone spear points – a hallmark of Middle Stone Age technology – were replaced by bows and bone arrows.