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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Prehistoric Exchange and Interaction on Southeastern Southern Africa: Marine Shells and Ostrich Eggshell
Author:Mitchell, Peter J.ISNI
Periodical:African Archaeological Review
Geographic term:Southern Africa
Subjects:Stone Age
Anthropology and Archaeology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01956132
Abstract:The spatiotemporal distribution of seashells and ostrich eggshell in the Later Stone Age of southeastern southern Africa is used to infer several areas of social interaction. Early and mid-Holocene patterning in ostrich eggshell and marine shell distribution suggests four main areas of interaction: the Thukela Basin, southern KwaZulu/Natal plus eastern Lesotho, the northeastern Cape, and the eastern Orange Free State (South Africa). These patterns are unlikely to have remained static. However, it is after c. 2000 BP that the most marked contrasts become evident. Sites in the Durban/Pietermaritzburg area no longer yield ostrich eggshell beads, while ostrich eggshell now appears throughout the Thukela Basin, along with a major increase in seashells. The impression is one of intensified exchange within this subregion, accompanying the establishment of farming communities and of exchange between them and hunter-gatherers. A similar situation may have prevailed in Transkei. Across southern KwaZulu/Natal and in eastern Lesotho, on the other hand, the picture is quite different: while ostrich eggshell beads do reach coastal sites, the inland movement of marine shells is now much more limited, at the same time that the movement of ostrich eggshell into the Lesotho highlands reaches new levels. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French.