Abstract Renewed excavations at Die Kelders Cave 1 on the southern South African coast have uncovered large collections of Middle Stone Age (MSA) stone artefacts and coloring materials, but not bone or shell artefacts. High percentages of silcrete artefacts in one of the lower layers are confirmed, but there is no evidence for the Howieson's Poort stage of the MSA as previously mooted. The artefacts probably date to the middle–late MSA. The consistency and conservation which characterize the Die Kelders and other non-Howieson's Poort MSA artefact sequences contrast with the faster changes and innovative patterning seen in Later Stone Age sequences. It is not known whether this picture is a consequence of the traditional typological approach to MSA stone artefact analysis, or whether it reflects differences between Middle and Later Stone Age toolmakers in biological cognition capabilities or merely in social relations and worldviews.