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The Archaeology of Southern Africa (Cambridge World Archaeology)by Peter John Mitchell
Synopses & Reviews
Some of the earliest human populations lived in Southern Africa, and evidence from sites there has inspired key debates on human origins and on the emergence of modern humans. The sub-continent has one of the world's richest heritages of rock art, and specialists have developed innovative theories about its meaning and significance that have influenced the understanding of rock art everywhere. Passionate arguments about the hunter-gatherer way of life have centred on Southern African cases, and the relationship between archaeological and anthropological data is also central to understanding the past of Southern Africa's pastoralist and farmer communities. The pre-colonial states of the region provide some of the best documented cases of the influence of external trade on the development of African polities. Peter Mitchell has produced the first comprehensive modern synthesis of the sub-continent's archaeology. His book offers a thorough-going overview of three million years of Southern African history.
Southern Africa has one of the longest histories of occupation by modern humans and their ancestors anywhere in the world, over three million years. Research in Southern Africa is central to many key debates in contemporary archaeology, including hominid origins, the origins of anatomically modern humans and modern forms of behaviour, and the development of ethnographically informed perspectives for understanding rock art, of which the sub-continent boasts one of the richest heritages in the world. This is the first attempt at synthesis of the sub-continent's past for over forty years.
Peter Mitchell presents the first new archaeological synthesis of the region in fifty years.
Southern Africa has one of the longest histories of occupation by modern humans and their ancestors anywhere in the world: over three million years. Research in Southern Africa is central to many key debates in contemporary archaeology, including hominid origins, the origins of anatomically modern humans and modern forms of behavior, and the development of ethnographically informed perspectives for understanding its rich heritage of rock art. This is the first attempt at a synthesis of the sub-continent's past in over forty years.
About the Author
Peter Mitchell is Lecturer in African Prehistory at the University of Oxford, and Tutor and a Fellow of St Hugh's College, Oxford.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Frameworks; 3. Origins; 4. Modern humans, modern behaviour?; 5. Living through the late Pleistocene; 6. From the Pleistocene into the Holocene: social and ecological models of cultural change; 7. Hunting, gathering and intensifying: Holocene foragers in Southern Africa; 8. History from the rocks, ethnography from the desert; 9. Taking stock: the introduction and impact of pastoralism; 10. Early farming communities; 11. The Zimbabwe tradition; 12. Later farming communities of southernmost Africa; 13. The archaeology of colonialism; 14. Southern African archaeology today.
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History and Social Science » Africa » South Africa