The 'Sangoan' industries

O. Davies


The term 'Sangoan', derived from Sango Bay in Uganda, has come to be used widely and vaguely in Sub-Saharan Africa for industries which are later than the Final Acheulian and are characterized by rather massive picks in addition to other tool-types. This paper examines whether the so-called 'Sangoan' industries in outlying areas, the Guinea coastlands, the Angola coast, Rhodesia, South West Africa and Natal, can justifiably be equated with the Central African industry to which the name is properly assigned.

Large collections of the Central African industry have been made in very few areas, Uganda, Kalambo Falls (not fully published), Lunda, Victoria Falls. It seems that the industries in all these areas are fairly well correlated; they are characterized by picks without pebble-butts, some hand-axes, heavy core-tools and a few small tools. None of them is well stratified geologically, so they cannot be dated on a geological time-scale; at some sites finite radiocarbon dates around 45000 B.P. have been obtained, though being close to the limits of radiocarbon these dates are not absolutely trustworthy.

The paper pays particular attention to two areas where numerous 'Sangoan' pieces have found, the Guinea coastlands and Natal. There is little material from Angola. That from Rhodesia and South West Africa may be descended from the Central African Sangoan but no longer merits the name.

In Ghana the 'Sangoan' industry is later than the high ocean-level probably of Eem II, but is not closely datable geologically. It is characterized by picks, some with pebble-butts, a few hand-axes, no cleavers, large scrapers, gouges and perhaps trap-weights. It does not closely resemble the Central African Sangoan, especially in the form of picks, nor is there evidence of territorial continuity; so the Ghana industry should be separately defined, and the name Awudome industry is proposed.

In Natal the 'Sangoan' has a coastal distribution and occurs particularly on the coastal dunes. It seems to be later than Eem II, earlier than Brörup or possibly Eem III, and so a good deal older than the finite dates for the Central African industry. Its pebble-butted picks and the rest of its tool-kit are not comparable to the types from Central Africa. So it is proposed to abandon the name 'Sangoan' and revert to the original name, the Tugela industry.

To cite this article: Davies, O. 1976. The 'Sangoan' industries. Annals of the Natal Museum 22 (3): 885-911.

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