African Archaeological Review

http://link.springer.com/journal/10437

List of Papers (Total 35)

Back to the Grindstone? The Archaeological Potential of Grinding-Stone Studies in Africa with Reference to Contemporary Grinding Practices in Marakwet, Northwest Kenya

This article presents observations on grinding-stone implements and their uses in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, northwest Kenya. Tool use in Marakwet is contextualized with a select overview of literature on grinding-stones in Africa. Grinding-stones in Marakwet are incorporated not only into quotidian but also into more performative and ritual aspects of life. These tools have distinct ...

Accuracy vs. Precision: Understanding Potential Errors from Radiocarbon Dating on African Landscapes

The application of radiocarbon dating to determine the geochronology of archaeological sites is ubiquitous across the African continent. Accelerator mass spectrometry has made radiocarbon dating the most precise method to determine the death of living organisms that occurred within the last 50,000 years. However, the method is not without limitations and this review article ...

Middle Stone Age Technology and Cultural Evolution at Magubike Rockshelter, Southern Tanzania

This paper contributes new information to the body of evidence for Middle Stone Age tool-use in Tanzania. Magubike rockshelter is located in an archaeologically unexplored region of the south-central part of the country, and thus fills a significant geographical gap between sites further to the north and those to the south in Zambia and Mozambique. Early analysis of a portion of ...

Excavations at Mlambalasi Rockshelter: a Terminal Pleistocene to Recent Iron Age Record in Southern Tanzania

The Mlambalasi rockshelter in the Iringa Region of southern Tanzania has rich artifactual deposits spanning the Later Stone Age (LSA), Iron Age, and historic periods. Middle Stone Age (MSA) artifacts are also present on the slope in front of the rockshelter. Extensive, systematic excavations in 2006 and 2010 by members of the Iringa Region Archaeological Project (IRAP) illustrate a ...

Why the Donkey Did Not Go South: Disease as a Constraint on the Spread of Equus asinus into Southern Africa

Donkeys are the only ungulate definitely known to have been domesticated in Africa and were widely employed in the north of the continent and through the Sahara and the Sahel as pack animals, as well as spreading through much of the Old World. Used in Egypt by 4000 bc, they are attested in Nubia in the third millennium bc, in eastern Sudan in the second millennium bc and, in a ...

Earliest Evidence for the Ivory Trade in Southern Africa: Isotopic and ZooMS Analysis of Seventh–Tenth Century ad Ivory from KwaZulu-Natal

KwaGandaganda, Ndondondwane and Wosi were major Early Farming Community settlements in what is today the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. These sites have yielded, among other remains, abundant evidence of ivory and ivory working dating to the seventh–tenth centuries ad, pre-dating by approximately 200 years the better-known ivory artefacts from sites in the Limpopo River ...

Faunal Assemblage Structure Suggests a Limited Impact of the Introduction of Domestic Stock on Later Stone Age Subsistence Economies in South Africa

Livestock remains appear in the South African archaeological record around 2100 years ago. However, the economic importance of domestic animals in Later Stone Age subsistence is debated. This paper adopts an approach rooted in Optimal Foraging Theory to examine if the introduction of livestock is reflected in changing taxonomic diversity of faunal assemblages. Based on the analysis ...

Animal Exploitation and Behaviour of the Latest Middle Stone Age Societies in the Middle Nile Valley: Archaeozoological and Taphonomic Analysis of Late Pleistocene Fauna from the Affad Basin, Sudan

With the research on the issue in its initial phases, the behaviour and hunting strategies of MSA communities inhabiting the Nile Valley in the Late and Terminal Pleistocene have been fragmentarily recognised thus far. Osteological materials from the area of the Affad Basin in the Middle Nile Valley, recorded in archaeological contexts and dated to the sixteenth millennium BP using ...

The Current Status of the Kenya Capsian

East Africa is home to a rich array of stone-tool traditions that span human prehistory. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the region attracted pioneer prehistorians in the early twentieth century, including L. S. B. Leakey, E. J. Wayland and T. P. O’Brien, who created the first cultural framework for East African prehistory during the 1930s. Although aspects of this framework ...

Early and Middle Holocene Human Occupation of the Egyptian Eastern Desert: Sodmein Cave

In this paper, we discuss human occupation during the Early and Middle Holocene in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, based mainly on the data provided by excavated deposits from the Sodmein Cave, which produced an important Holocene stratigraphic sequence. This sequence is dated by a large number of conventional and AMS 14C dates. It appears that the area was empty of human occupation ...

Lakeside View: Sociocultural Responses to Changing Water Levels of Lake Turkana, Kenya

Throughout the Holocene, Lake Turkana has been subject to drastic changes in lake levels and the subsistence strategies people employ to survive in this hot and arid region. In this paper, we reconstruct the position of the lake during the Holocene within a paleoclimatic context. Atmospheric forcing mechanisms are discussed in order to contextualize the broader landscape changes ...

Mapping the Archaeology of Somaliland: Religion, Art, Script, Time, Urbanism, Trade and Empire

This paper presents the results of some of the surveys conducted to map archaeological sites of Somaliland and includes almost 100 new and previously unpublished sites. The survey work was conducted by several of Somaliland’s Department of Archaeology staff, including Mohamed Ali Abdi, a Departmental survey officer, and the present author. This report is an archaeological testimony ...

Wagar, Fertility and Phallic Stelae: Cushitic Sky-God Belief and the Site of Saint Aw-Barkhadle, Somaliland

This article is the first to present a study on the wagar, a sacred wooden sculpture kept by Somali women. This study explores the wagar and its significance as a sacred medium within fertility rituals and the religious syncretism in which such indigenous and non/pre-Islamic practice is appropriated and applied for reproduction purposes. The wagar seems to denote a Cushitic symbol ...

Characterizing Archaeological Assemblages from Eastern Lake Natron, Tanzania: Results of Fieldwork Conducted in the Area

Unlike Peninj and Monik localities in western Lake Natron, eastern Lake Natron remains an archaeological terra incognita. A brief survey of the landforms adjacent to the eastern shoreline revealed 28 Stone Age archaeological sites exhibiting technological and typological features suggestive of the Acheulean Sangoan, Middle Stone Age (MSA), and Later Stone Age (LSA) distributed in ...

The Meroitic Empire: Trade and Cultural Influences in an Indian Ocean Context

The Meroitic Empire was a powerful Kushite state in the Middle Nile region of the Sudan, lasting from the fourth century BCE to the fourth century CE. In the early phase from the ninth century BCE, the seat of power was in the north at Napata. Influences from Egypt clearly dominated symbolic expressions of royal power in this early phase, but over time, elements linked to different ...

Early Christianity in East Africa and Red Sea/Indian Ocean Commerce

The ancient East African kingdom of Aksum gradually adopted Christianity from the early- to mid-fourth-century reign of Ezana onwards. The well-known narrative of the late Roman church-historian Rufinus relates a top-down process of conversion, starting with the ruler himself. The report, corroborated by the adoption of Christian symbolism on Ezana’s late coinage, and monotheistic ...

The Southern Frontier of the Meroitic State: The View from Jebel Moya

The site of Jebel Moya, excavated in the early twentieth century, represents arguably the largest pastoral mortuary complex in Africa. Jebel Moya is resituated in relation to the neighbouring Meroitic-era agro-pastoral settlements and the only known Meroitic trading station (Sennar) in the southern Gezira Plain, Sudan. It is the first time that the known localities in the southern ...

Hunter–Gatherer Cattle-Keepers of Early Neolithic El Adam Type from Nabta Playa: Latest Discoveries from Site E–06–1

Further Neolithic encampments and settlements have been explored by the Combined Prehistoric Expedition in the Nabta Playa Basin on the South–Western Desert border around 100 km west of the Nile Valley. The perfectly preserved stratigraphic setting of the new site, numerous hearths and traces of dwellings, rich cultural material including pottery, radiocarbon dates and presence of ...

Animal Genetics and African Archaeology: Why It Matters

This article introduces the special issue of African Archaeological Review on the relevance of African livestock genetics to archaeology on the continent. It shows how modern and ancient animal genetic research in Eurasia has substantially revised archaeological scenarios for the origins and spread of food production there. It argues that, in contrast to colleagues in Europe and ...

The History of African Village Chickens: an Archaeological and Molecular Perspective

The history of the introduction and dispersal of village chickens across the African continent is a subject of intense debate and speculation among scholars. Here, we synthesize and summarise the current scientific genetic and nongenetic knowledge in relation to the history of the species on the continent. Sociocultural, linguistic, archaeological and historic data all suggest a ...