The Prehistory of Southern Africa

By J. Desmond Clark | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
BUILDING UP THE STORY

PIONEERS OF PREHISTORY

THE study of prehistory in southern Africa developed in the south and spread later to the more tropical countries. This is perhaps natural as the Dutch and English settlers, pushing inland, came into early contact with peoples using stone weapons and tools and saw in the makers of these implements the descendants of the men who had made many of the stone tools they found lying about the country in such profusion.

The accounts written by early travellers, such as Andrew Sparrman ( 1786), described the bored stone being used by Bushwomen to weight a digging stick, and Patterson ( 1779) referred to Hottentots on the 'Camdinie' River who used a species of 'flint' (chert) for their harpoons. Barrow travelling in 1796-7 came across rock paintings recently done by Bushmen in a cave in the Graaf Reinet district, and as long ago as 1721 the Bishop of Mozambique reported to the Royal Academy of History at Lisbon that there existed in Mozambique 'paintings on rocks exhibiting dogs, camels, and other animals as well as some inscriptions'. This must be one of the earliest references to the rock paintings that are such a feature of southern African archaeology. Paintings in the country east of the Kei River were ascribed to the Bushmen as early as 1752, while the first European to record and copy any of the rock engravings was Johannes Schumacher in the country north of the Cape in 1776-7.

It was not until the 1850s, however, that any widespread interest was aroused in South Africa's buried past. In the year 1858 Thomas Holden Bowker, whose family had come to the Albany district with the 1820 settlers, found and collected a number of Middle Stone Age points, some of which are still preserved in the museum in Grahamstown. Remarkably, this collection was made a year before Boucher de Perthes finally

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The Prehistory of Southern Africa
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Plates vii
  • List of Text Figures ix
  • List of Maps xvii
  • List of Tables xix
  • Acknowledgements xxi
  • Foreword xxiii
  • Introduction xxv
  • Chapter One - The Land and the People 1
  • Chapter Two - Building Up the Story 24
  • Chapter Three - The Man-Apes 58
  • Chapter Four - Fossil Man in Southern Africa 74
  • Chapter Five - Unspecialized Hunter-Gatherers 102
  • Chapter Six - Specialization Begins 131
  • Chapter Seven - The Microlithic Revolution 166
  • Chapter Eight - The Later Stone Age 185
  • Chapter Nine - Daily Life in the Later Stone Age 217
  • Chapter Ten - Prehistoric Art 253
  • Chapter Eleven - Miners, Metal-Workers, And Builders in Stone 281
  • References 315
  • Index 331
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