Rose Cottage Cave

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Site type:
Site function:
Habitation site
-29.2, 27.45
South Africa

Rose Cottage Cave (RCC) is an archaeological site in the Free State, South Africa, situated only a few kilometers away from Ladybrand, close to the Caledon River, on the northern slopes of the Platberg. RCC is an important site because of its long cultural sequence, its roots in modern human behavior, and the movement of early modern humans out of Africa. Rose Cottage is the only site from the Middle Stone Age that can tell us about the behavioral variability of hunter-gatherers during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Berry D. Malan excavated the site between 1943 and 1946, shortly followed by Peter B. Beaumont in the early 1960s, and the most recent excavations occurred from 1987 to 1997 by Lyn Wadley and Philip Harper in 1989 under Wadley's supervision. Humans have inhabited Rose Cottage for over 100,000 years throughout the Middle and Later Stone Ages. Site formation and sediment formation processes at Rose Cottage appear to be primarily anthropogenic. Archaeological research focuses primarily on blade technology and tool forms from the Middle Stone Age and the implications of modern human behavior. Structurally, the cave measures more than 6 meters (20 feet) deep and about 20 by 10 meters (66 feet by 33 feet). A boulder encloses the front, protecting the cave, but allowing a small opening for a skylight and narrow entrances on both the east and west sides.