African Archaeological Review

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 3–34 | Cite as

Archaeological research in Lesotho: a review of 120 years

  • P. J. Mitchell


Archaeological research in Lesotho over the last 120 years is reviewed. Particular emphasis is given to P. Carter's excavation and survey project in eastern Lesotho and to contract archaeology projects in other parts of the country. Current research and projects involving the study of rock art are also considered. The archaeological potential of Lesotho for addressing a number of themes is discussed. These themes include the reconstruction of prehistoric seasonal mobility patterns, hunter-gatherer adaptations at the Last Glacial Maximum and relations between hunter-gatherer and farming populations. Lesotho's geographical situation lends itself to examining these questions across two distinct ecological gradients, but the richness of its rock art also demonstrates its potential for investigating Stone Age social relations. The importance of developing a more effective national archaeological infrastructure is stressed.


Social Relation Cultural Study Glacial Maximum Mobility Pattern Archaeological Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Les recherches archéologiques des 120 dernières années sont passées en revue. L'accent est mis tout particuliérement sur les fouilles et le survey conduits dans l'est du Lesotho par P. Carter ainsi que sur les contrats de recherches archéologiques dans d'autres régions du pays. Les recherches en cours et les projets comprennant l'étude de l'art rupestre sont aussi passés en revue.

Le potentiel archéologique du Lesotho pour l'étude d'un certain nombre de thèmes est discuté. Ces thèmes comprennent la reconstruction des mouvements saisoniers et des adaptations des chasseurs/cueilleurs durant le dernier maximum glaciaire ainsi que les relations entre les chasseurs/cueilleurs et les populations fermières. Le Lesotho, de par sa situation géographique, permet d'examiner ces questions au travers de deux niveaux écologiques distincts, cependant que la richesse de son art rupestre démontre son potentiel pour étudier les relations sociales durant l'Age de la Pierre. L'importance du développement d'une infrastructure archéologique nationale plus poussée est soulignée.


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© Cambridge University Press 1992

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  • P. J. Mitchell

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