Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

East and Southern African Neolithic: Geography and Overview

  • David K. Wright
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1888

State of Knowledge and Current Debates

The Neolithic period of eastern and southern Africa involved forms of niche fulfillment when viewed within the context of its origins and distribution. In Africa, Neolithic cultures include those groups who herd domesticated animals, use stone tools and ceramics as part of their subsistence package. Climatic and demographic pressures after 6,000 BP pushed Neolithic pastoralists living in the Nile River Valley southward, and the savanna habitats of eastern and southern Africa that these migrants encountered were attractive ecosystems rife for herding. The early Neolithic pastoralists in eastern Africa tended to be less mobile and had a broad-based subsistence compared to later pastoral groups, who colonized southern Africa after 2,000 BP. When placed within the larger paleoenvironmental and cultural backdrop, pastoralists adapted their subsistence to specific ecosystems based on the potential of the land to provide adequate sustenance for...

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Further Reading

  1. Barham, L. & P. M. Mitchell. 2008. The first Africans: African archaeology from the earliest toolmakers to most recent foragers. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.Google Scholar
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  7. Wright, D. K. 2011. Frontier animal husbandry in the Northeast and East African Neolithic: a multiproxypaleoenvironmental and paleodemographic study. Journal of Anthropological Research 67(2): 213-44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and Art HistoryCollege of Humanities, Seoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea