The Stilbaai Culture

stillbay1stillbay2The term, “The Stillbay”, is well known to archaeologists worldwide and refers to a specific style used in the crafting of certain stone implements of the Middle Stone Age. Particularly well known for its beautifully made leaf-shaped bifacial points, the whole surface of the stone implement was worked in fine flaking, known as “fish scale flaking”. The finest examples from this area compare well with similar implements produced by paleolithic residents of Europe about 40 000 years later.

The Stillbay industry is an example of a technology which was not maintained through time. In Africa, despite its superiority to other technologies, it has only been found in layers dating from 70 000 to 75 000 years ago.

The original term “Stillbay Industry” (now known as “The Stillbay”) was coined by AJH Goodwin, a leader in South African archaeology, as a tribute to the pioneering work done in archaeology in the Stilbaai, Blombos and Riversdale areas by the Riversdale teacher CHTD Heese.

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