This paper describes the first excavations into two Holocene Later Stone Age (LSA) deposits in southern
Namaqualand. The limestone shelters afforded excellent preservation, and the LSA sites contained
material similar in many respects to shelters in the Cederberg range to the south. Deposition at both sites
was discontinuous with a mid-Holocene pulse in Buzz Shelter followed by contact-period deposits over
a total depth of some 0.45 m. In Reception Shelter the 1.40 m deposit yielded a basal age in the fifth
to eighth centuries BC with pottery and domestic cow contained within a strong pulse of occupation
just above this. The deposit then reflects another significant pulse in the terminal Holocene. A basal age
of c. 24 000 BC suggests Pleistocene occupation of the area. Significant observations at both sites are
that ostrich eggshell beads remain relatively small throughout, although those at Reception Shelter are
somewhat larger, and that the typical prehistoric signature continued right through the contact period.
Artefacts ascribed to a late Holocene industry so far only recognised on coastal sites were also found.
KEY WORDS: Holocene, Namaqualand, Later Stone Age, bedding and ash, contact period, stone
artefacts, beads, organic artefacts.