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notched rib, recovered from Mngazana Cave on the Pon doland coast and published in an article by Chubb, King and Mogg in 1934.


The delicate curved bone ob ject shown below (about 440 mm along the arc and 250 mm from tip to tip) was included in a box of bones sent to the

Bureau in the early 1940 s by Mrs Basman, wife of the owner of Won derwerk Cave in the Northern Cape. Berry Malan and L.H. Wells, writing in the South Af rican Journal ofScience (VoI40, 1943), wondered what It was.

with both tips, and that a small piece of fibre adhered to one of the perforations, but crum bled when tnuched.'

What could it have been? What was its use? To start with, the idea that it was a shooting bow was ruled out owing to the object's fully bent form and its fragility. A musical bow perhaps? A literature survey proved fruitless, and no further light could be shed by the authorities whom Malan and Wells con sulted. 'Neither Professor P.R. Kirby, an authority on indigenous music, nor Professor L.F. Main-

gard, who has made a closestudy of the Bushman and related peoples were able to recognise It.' The Abbe Breuil reported 'identical objects' of Mid Aurignacian association in Europe, 'where they possibly formed part of a head-dress. But 'it would be most dangerous to apply this very remarkable analogy without supporting evidence', the authors added.

If you have any suggestions on any of these 'Posers from the Past', we would like to hear from you. Please write to The DiggIng Stick.

'Taken from the rib of some animal...the bone has been carefully rubbed to a lenticular cross-section, somewhat more convex on the outer sur face. One end is perforated 0.4 in. [about 10 mm] from the tip; the perforation was done from the inner surface and is conical, the wider opening on the inner surface being [4,7 mm] in diameter and the nar row opening [3,2 mm]. The other end was similarly perfo rated, but the tip has broken off at the perforation. Mrs Bos man informs me that when found the object was complete

Photo: Trevor Smith, McGregor Museum

The South African Archaeological Society was founded fifty years ago to promote archaeology through education and publication. Bi-annually, the Society publishes the South African Archaeological Bulletin for publication of current archaeological research in southern Africa. Periodically, thematic collections of papers appear in the Society's Goodwin Series. The Digging Stick is the Society's general interest newsletter.

Editor: David Morris, p.a. Box 316, 8300 Kimberley, South Africa. Published by the South African Archaeological SOciety, p.a. Box 15700, 8018 Vlaeberg. Word-processed by D. Morris and S. Mngqolo and typeset by D. Coetzee, courtesy of the McGregor Museum. Printed by Swift Print, Kimberley.

The Digging Stick


Vol 12 (3) Nov 1995

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