African Archaeological Review

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 133-150

First online:

The Chronological Evidence for the Introduction of Domestic Stock into Southern Africa

  • C. Britt BousmanAffiliated withCenter for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio

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This essay reviews radiocarbon dates associated with the earliest evidence of domestic stock in southern Africa and reviews existing models for their introduction in light of the current evidence. Two primary models exist for the introduction of domestic stock into southern Africa: an early Khoisan wave and an Early Iron Age source. Neither model is completely supported by the evidence. Available chronological evidence suggests that Khoisan and Iron Age herders simultaneously ushered domestic stock into the northern and eastern regions of southern Africa. Early Iron Age groups in southern Zambia are likely external sources. Khoisan herders exclusively introduced domestic stock into Namibia and the Cape. However, in the northern and eastern regions of southern Africa, stock possession and transfers probably were complex and involved both Khoisan and Iron Age groups.

southern Africa domestic stock Later Stone Age Iron Age Khoisan radiocarbon dates