Organic matter and biomarker data from Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa, supplement to: Collins, James A; Carr, Andrew S; Schefuß, Enno; Boom, Arnoud; Sealy, Judith (2017): Investigation of organic matter and biomarkers from Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa: Insights into Middle Stone Age site usage and palaeoclimate. Journal of Archaeological Science, 85, 51-65


Diepkloof Rock Shelter (DRS) represents a site of major interest for reconstructing early human behaviours during the Middle Stone Age (MSA). Rock shelters such as DRS also potentially preserve information concerning the environmental context for such behaviours. In this respect the organic matter composition of rock shelter sediments has rarely been investigated in detail, particularly at the molecular level. Here, we used pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (py-GC/MS) to systematically assess the organic matter composition of bulk sediments within the MSA and Later Stone Age (LSA) sequence at DRS. From this we sought to gain insights into site usage, taphonomy and burning practices. Additionally, we analysed the chain length distribution of leaf-wax n-alkanes as well as their hydrogen and carbon isotopic compositions (dDwax and d13Cwax) to investigate their potential as hydroclimate and vegetation indicators. This constitutes the first leaf-wax isotopic data in a terrestrial context of this antiquity in South Africa.

Metadata Access
Creator Sealy, Judith;Collins, James A;Boom, Arnoud;Schefuß, Enno;Carr, Andrew S
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 2017
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY)
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Collection of Datasets
Format application/zip
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (32S,18E)