Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 230156, 5 pages
Letter to the Editor

Clarifying Some Fundamental Errors in Herries' “A Chronological Perspective on the Acheulian and Its Transition to the Middle Stone Age in Southern Africa: The Question of the Fauresmith” (2011)

Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, Hartley Building, Liverpool L69 3GS, UK

Received 21 February 2012; Accepted 29 February 2012

Copyright © 2012 Lawrence Barham. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Herries provides a timely review of the archaeological and dating evidence of the transition from the Acheulean to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) in southern Africa, however, in relation to the site of Twin Rivers, Zambia he makes several fundamental errors of interpretation that demand correction. The stratigraphic sequence of the site is admittedly complex, but it deserves a more careful analysis than that offered by Herries. This detailed response by the most recent excavator of the site addresses Herries critique by placing the site in its historical context and then dealing with the central issue of the association of dated speleothem with the surviving archaeological deposits. Herries is shown to have mistakenly combined the dates from two separate cave passages and to have misunderstood the published sections, plans, and taphonomic assessment of each excavation area. His reinterpretation of the site as being significantly younger than published is based on a conflation of unrelated data.