The Prehistory of Southern Africa

By J. Desmond Clark | Go to book overview

Chapter Eleven
MINERS, METAL-WORKERS, AND BUILDERS IN STONE

THE fate of the stone-using, hunting bands of southern Africa was sealed by the coming of Iron Age peoples. These had a greatly superior social and economic structure and were food producers instead of being merely predatory upon the resources of their environment. Some were purely stock owners, some were primitive agriculturalists, and most were mixed farmers. Thus they sought out the country best suited to their various needs and, being no longer dependent entirely upon the natural resources of their environment, were able to maintain semi-permanent settlements in areas where previously man had been unable to linger.

As a result, the land could support a larger number of people, and this increase in population density resulted in an ever-growing demand for more productive land. Accordingly we now find fairly rapid movements of peoples pressing on to fresh localities either from cupidity or from necessity. The pastoralists sought out areas that were free from tsetse fly and at the same time provided good grazing and watering for their stock. Thus the predominantly pastoral people are found mainly in the drier western parts. The largely agricultural groups exist in the northern forest and savannah country and in the more thickly-covered central parts where tsetse has prohibited stock-keeping or destroyed any cattle that they may once have had. In the more open bush and savannah of the north, centre, and east lived the mixed farmers.

The earliest domestication of animals and the simplest agricultural methods did not necessarily bring about any marked change in the material culture of our earliest farmers and in fact they invariably practised hunting and gathering to supplement their own production. Thus one finds the Neolithic peoples of Egypt or Europe continuing to use, for a time, simple tools that show no great advance on those of the earlier Mesolithic peoples.

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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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