Before Farming

Between the first herders and the last herders

are the Khoekhoe descendants of the Neolithic ‘hunters-with-sheep'?

Before Farming (2004), 2004, (4), 1–11.

Abstract

Recent publications have led us to re-assess the issue of the introduction of food-production in southern Africa. While some researchers have proposed new models for the spread of domestic stock and ceramics throughout the sub-continent, Karim Sadr suggests that we should re-introduce the concept of Neolithic to describe the appearance of low-intensity herding groups in the context of the Later Stone Age c 2000 BP. Following the path whereby Sadr disconnects the material culture associated with Neolithic herders from the historically-known Khoekhoe, one might ask again: where do the latter came from? Starting from ethnographic comparisons of two Khoekhoe husbandry techniques, it appears that the Khoekhoe can be seen as ‘true pastoralists’ possessing a complete ‘pastoralist package’ of cultural practices that are not readily visible in the archaeological record. This brings us to reconsider the possibility of a separate and late migration of the Khoekhoe in South Africa.

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Fauvelle-Aymar, François-Xavier