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Rose Cottage Cave is a multicomponent site located on the Caledon River in the eastern Free State region of South Africa. The cave is 20 meters (60 feet), 10 meters (30 feet) wide; its deposits are up to six meters (18 feet) deep and include evidence of its use by humans for over 100,000 years, including important Middle Stone Age (Howiesons Poort) occupations.
Howiesons Poort and Stillbay industries of southern Africa are among the most advanced stone tool industries of the African Middle Stone Age, identified at a handful of archaeological sites, mostly caves in South Africa. Recent investigations at Sibudu Cave, as additional data supporting the earlier excavations, have achieved a timeline of between ~77,000-70,000 years before the present for Stillbay and ~66,000–58,000 bp for Howiesons Poort.
Because of its age at the outside limits of radiocarbon dating, dating for Sibudu Cave includes both radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. Radiocarbon dates range between 28,800 to greater than 48,000 RCYBP, the upper limit for C14 dating. OSL ages for the post-Howiesons Poort occupation are reported as averaging about 57,000 years ago, and the older Howiesons Poort levels fit within Oxygen Isotope Stage 4, or earlier than 61,000 years ago. Still Bay/Howiesons Poort sites have been previously recorded between about 65,000-75,000 years bp.