By Ian Shaw
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Additional resources for A Dictionary of Archaeology
Clark 15 has suggested may have been a special forest adaptation. The ‘Middle Stone Age’ is generally regarded as the equivalent of the MOUSTERIAN as recognized in North Africa at JEBEL IRHOUD and HAUA FTEAH. Again it is widely distributed throughout the region and usually takes the form of simple LEVALLOISbased industries, for which there is a minimum radiocarbon date of uncal 33,400 ± 2500 BP at Bilma. At Adrar Bous and elsewhere in the Sahara the MSA is succeeded by the ATERIAN and this according to Tillet may have been associated with an Upper Ghazalian humid period immediately preceding the last glacial maximum at 18,000 BP.
Despite growing social and economic complexity in some parts of the subcontinent, there is no evidence that any of the plant or animal resources indigenous to southern Africa were independently domesticated. However, for much of the last 2000 years the region’s hunter-gatherers have been in close contact with food-producing societies. In the southwestern part of the sub-continent these contacts were with Khoi-speaking pastoralists, whose linguistic affiliations suggest an ultimate origin in north-central Botswana; sheep were presumably acquired here originally from Iron Age farmers.
Van Riet Lowe continues in use today. Beginning around 1959 when Desmond Clark argued that different environmental conditions had affected assemblage character in different parts of the subcontinent, a strongly ecological focus has prevailed in the region’s research tradition. The work of Hilary Deacon, initially at Melkhoutboom and subsequently with a focus on Boomplaas and KLASIES RIVER MOUTH, along with the research of John Parkington and his colleagues in the Western Cape are two of several projects that have emphasized the study of prehistoric subsistence economies, adaptation to local ecologies and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.
A Dictionary of Archaeology by Ian Shaw