South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
SMITH, Patricia et al. Canteen Kopje: a new look at an old skull. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2012, vol.108, n.1-2, pp.01-09. ISSN 1996-7489.
The Canteen Kopje (CK) skull was found by a diamond digger working the Vaal River gravels in 1929. It was hailed by Robert Broom as an exceptionally robust prehistoric individual that was ancestral to modern South African populations. Further exploration of the Vaal Gravels has confirmed the antiquity of the purported find locality, but the heavily restored CK cranium offers limited possibilities for morphometric re-examination or direct dating with which to test Broom's assertion. We used X-ray tomography to create a computerised 3D image that would provide optimal visualisation of the morphometry of the bony surfaces. The results showed that the CK cranium falls within the range of variation of Holocene Khoesan and lacks archaic features. We propose that it was probably a Late Stone Age intrusion into the Vaal Gravels or the overlying Hutton Sands.