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Alex Mackay

My primary interest is in explaining technological change in the late Pleistocene of southern Africa using insights from a variety of theoretical streams including evolutionary ecology, transmission theory and that roughly aligned body of work known as the organisation of technology. I'm also interested in how archaeologists approach archaeology, and thus in the history of archaeological research and in the effects that history has on how we perceive, approach and explain the changes we see in the record through time and space.

Currently I'm focusing on a three-year project looking at late Pleistocene occupational and technological variation in environmentally marginal regions of the Western Cape of South Africa.

Selected Publications:

2015. Mackay, A., Z. Jacobs & T.E. Steele. Late Pleistocene archaeology and chronology of Putslaagte 8 (PL8) rockshelter, Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of African Archaeology.

2014. Mackay, A., A. Sumner, Z. Jacobs, K. Bluff & M. Shaw. Putslaagte 1 (PL1), the Doring River, and the later Middle Stone Age in southern Africa’s Winter Rainfall Zone. Quaternary International 350: 43-58.

2014. Thompson, J.C. A. Mackay, V.J. De Moor & E. Gomani-Chindebvu. Catchment survey in the Karonga District: A landscape-scale analysis of core reduction strategies during the Middle Stone Age of northern Malawi. African Archaeological Review DOI 10.1007/s10437-014-9167-2.

2014. Mackay, A., B. Stewart & B. Chase. Coalescence and fragmentation in the late Pleistocene archaeology of southernmost Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 72: 26-51.

2014. Wright, D., J. Thompson, A. Mackay, M. Welling, S.L. Forman, G. Price, J.-X. Zhao, A.S. Cohen, A. Greaves, S. Robinson & E. Gomani-Chindebvu. Renewed archaeological investigations at Mwanganda’s Village (Elephant Site), Karonga, Malawi. Geoarchaeology 29 (2): 98-120.

2012. Steele, TE, A. Mackay, J. Orton & S. Schwortz. Varsche River 003, a new Middle Stone Age site in southern Namaqualand, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 67: 108-119.

2012. Thompson, J., A. Mackay, D. Wright, M. Welling, A. Greaves, E. Gomani-Chindebvu & D. Simengwe. Renewed investigations into the Middle Stone Age of northern Malawi. Quaternary International 270: 129-139.

2012. Tripcevich, N. & A. Mackay. Spatial and temporal variation in stone raw material provisioning in the Chivay Obsidian Source area. In: A. Vranich, E. Klarich and C. Stanish (eds) Advances in Titicaca Basin Archaeology III. Museum of Anthropology Publications, University of Michigan. Pp 141-161.

2011. Mackay, A. Potentially stylistic differences between backed artefacts from two nearby sites occupied ~60 000 years before present in South Africa. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 30: 235-245.

2011. Mackay, A. The nature and significance of the transition from the Howiesons Poort to the post-Howiesons Poort at Klein Kliphuis rockshelter, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 1430-1440.

2011. Hiscock, P., C. Clarkson & A. Mackay. Big debates over little tools: ongoing disputes over microliths on three continents. World Archaeology 43: 653-664.

2011. Tripcevich, N. & A. Mackay. Procurement at the Chivay Obsidian source, Arequipa, Peru. World Archaeology 43: 271-297.

2011. Orton, J., RG. Klein, A. Mackay, S. Schwortz & TE. Steele. Two Holocene rock shelter deposits from the Knersvlakte, southern Namaqualand, South Africa. Southern African Humanities 23: 109-50.

2011. Marwick, B. & A. Mackay (eds). Keeping your Edge: Recent Approaches to the Organisation of Stone Artefact Technology. BAR S2273, ISBN 9781407308470.