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. This book is a comprehensive modern synthesis of the sub-continent's archaeology. It offers a thorough-going overview of three million years of Southern African history.Read more
- The first updated book on the subject for over forty years
- Covers all periods from paleoarchaeology to the present
- Well illustrated with maps, line drawings, photographs
Reviews & endorsements
'… a synthesis of southern African archaeology was long overdue … Mitchell's book is timely and it will make a significant contribution to the growing corpus of published material on southern African archaeology. It represents the state of knowledge at the turn of the millennium, and is an invaluable tool for scholars, teachers and students with an interest in the long and rich archaeological history of southern Africa. I recommend that it finds its way on to bookshelves, and I will certainly be pleased to have it on mine.' Before Farming: The Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-GatherersSee more reviews
'This could be the most influential publication on the archaeology of Africa for decades to come to come. … this extensive survey of the archaeology in Southern Africa is as interesting and informative as the geographical span of its contents.' Open History
'… well written, very generously referenced and sensibly balanced … Mitchell … should be congratulated in making a very great deal of food for thought available in an interesting and digestible form.' Antiquity
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- Date Published: November 2002
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521633895
- length: 532 pages
- dimensions: 244 x 170 x 27 mm
- weight: 1.04kg
- contains: 204 b/w illus. 29 maps 19 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
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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