The Origins And Spread Of Dry Laid, Stone-Walled Structures In Pre-Colonial South Africa.

  • Author: Karim Sadr
  • Topic: 2000 to 10,000 BP,1000 to 2000 BP,Archaeometry,Lithic studies,Zooarchaeology
  • Country: South Africa
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

Conventional wisdom used to have it that pots and livestock were first introduced into southern Africa by immigrant farmers with a village mode of production and iron smelting technology. Now, AMS dated livestock bones and potsherds show that the origins of herding and pottery in southern Africa are to be found in the indigenous Wilton and Smithfield techno-complexes of the Later Stone Age, a few centuries before the arrival of village farmers. Stone walled settlements and livestock corrals (kraals)–another trait conventionally associated with Iron Age farmers–now also seem to have originated among first millennium AD LSA communities to the west. Indeed, the earliest kraals in the in the central interior of South Africa may have been built and occupied by a hybrid mix of local forager-herders and agro-pastoralists moving in from more wooded neighboring regions. Through remote sensing and a regional survey of the Klip River basin kraals, the archaeological project KRK seeks to shed more light on this question. A preliminary report of the project’s work in progress is presented here. One conclusion is that research across the artificial boundary between Later Stone Age and Iron Age studies produces a more comprehensive view of South Africa’s pre-colonial history.

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