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    Abstract

    THE material from the excavation of the Mumbwa Cave, Northern Rhodesia, considered essential for the elucidation of the prehistory of South Africa, with the exception of part of the collection associated with the deeper burials, and the human skeletal remains, was destroyed by fire in the Ethnological Museum of the University of Witwatersrand. The excavators, Prof. Raymond Dart and N. del Grande, recorded in 1931 that pottery occurred in all the levels, though only sparingly in the deeper, down to the very base of the Late Stone Age deposits at a depth of two metres. It is the fragments from these deeper levels which survive, and have now been described and discussed further by L. W. Wells (Man of May, 1939). Not only do these fragments show that the pottery of the deeper levels was homogeneous, but also comparison with photographs of the pottery of the higher levels indicates an identity of characteristics and strong evidence for community of types between all levels. This agrees with the homogeneity of the lithic culture, and the continuity of the associated skeletal remains. The Mumbwa pottery holds an isolated position among African ceramics. It is of a type which, if found unassociated, would have been classified as Bantu; but as it is associated with a well-characterized lithic and human skeletal remains of predominantly Bush-Boskopoid character, devoid of recognizable Negro feature, it must be regarded as an integral part of a stone age culture, and the work of a non-Negro, pre-Bantu people-a conclusion of the highest importance, as hitherto it has been presumed that all unglazed pottery was of Bantu origin.

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    Research Items. Nature 143, 945–946 (1939) doi:10.1038/143945a0

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