Climate Change, Trade and Modes of Production in Sub-Saharan Africa

Article excerpt

ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIOLOGY Felix Chami, Gilbert Pwiti, and Chantai Radimilahy, eds. Climate Change, Trade and Modes of Production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam University Press, 2003. Distributed by African Books Collective Ltd., The Jam Factory, 27 Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HU. xiii + 197 pp. Maps. Photographs. Index. $35.95. Paper.

This volume is the third in the series "Studies in the African Past." It is a collection of chapters dealing separately with the three topics of the volume's title rather than the synthesis that might be inferred. Felix Chami's introductory chapter is a useful survey of the available evidence for climate change on the East African coast over the past five thousand years, with new information from recent archaeological excavations. Several chapters are also reports of recent fieldwork. Munyaradzi Manyanga discusses settlement patterning in the Shashe-Limpopo area of southern Zimbabwe; Amandus Kwekason and Felix Chami report on a survey and test excavation of two rock shelters in the Muleba district, southwest of Lake Nyanza; John Kinahan's chapter describes the material from his excavation of a Late Holocene cave deposit in the southern Namib desert; and Edward Matenga presents a preliminary survey of edible wild foods in the vicinity of Great Zimbabwe. There are two chapters in French on Madagascar. In the first, Darot Leon attempts to identify the movement of people through pottery classification, but he does not provide a good description and illustration of the different pottery types. The second, by Bako Rasoarifera, attempts to establish a glass bead chronology from the ninth to the nineteenth centuries. Unfortunately only a few of the bead types are illustrated, making comparison with collections from elsewhere difficult, if not impossible.

A chapter on gender in Tiv culture (Nigeria) by Caleb Fulorunso seems somewhat out of place, geographically and thematically, but it is a thought-provoking essay on gender visibility in the archaeological record. …