THE POTENTIAL FOR BUILDING A LATE PLEISTOCENE TEPHROCHRONOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK FOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN SOUTH AFRICA USING CRYPTOTEPHRA
While the YTT is commonly the subject of discussion, the 26.5 ka Oruanui (New Zealand) eruption was also extremely explosive (VEI = 8) and likely deposited tephra in South Africa within weeks following the eruption based on atmospheric tephra transport models. Therefore, this paper will report on evidence of the YTT as well as a younger cryptotephra population, potentially sourced to the Oruanui eruption, present at the Kathu Pan 6 archaeological site in Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Shards from Kathu Pan 6 are rhyolite with FeO >1.0 wt. % and higher trace element abundances than YTT, indicating that this cryptotephra is a separate population from YTT. These findings demonstrate the potential of a larger tephrochronological framework throughout this region, which is essential for age control in archaeological and geological studies, particularly for understanding the temporal-spatial sequence of technological and behavioral changes of modern humans in southern Africa.