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Excavations at Baden-Baden, South Africa

In July through August of 2003 and 2006, Dr. Britt Bousman, Abby Weinstein, Holly Meier, and Eric Oksanen excavated the site of Baden-Baden in South Africa. The project was funded by the Leakey Foundation and Texas State University, and the investigation was performed in collaboration with Drs. James Brink, Director of Florisbad Quaternary Research Department at the National Museum, and Louis Scott, a palynologist at the University of the Free State, both in Bloemfontein.

Baden-Baden is a spring mound formed at a series of mineral springs. Before the Boer War, a metal bath house occupied the area. Artifacts were seen around the edge of the mound. Detailed mapping has shown that the mound is actually a series of mounds, ranging in size, that have coalesced. Excavation units were placed in a number of locations at the base of the mound. The main block of excavations exposed well-stratified sandy deposits and a circular spring eye.

In the main block excavations, artifacts and poorly preserved bones were recovered, including a warthog tooth and a bored stone. In an adjacent excavation unit, archaeologists discovered a bone concentration believed to be a kill-butchery site. James Brink's analysis demonstrates that the South African and Kalahari springbok species are present in addition to black wildebeest. Phalanges were split lengthwise to extract marrow.

Pictured above: crew member screening sediment during excavations at Baden-Baden.

 

Baden-Baden, 2003