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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Towards an Early Iron Age Worldview: Some Ideas From KwaZulu-Natal
Author:Whitelaw, Gavin
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Natal
South Africa
Subjects:Iron Age
Anthropology and Archaeology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Bantu-speaking peoples
KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
Abstract:Since the early 1980s much research and debate among archaeologists has addressed the settlement layouts of early agriculturalist society. Underpinning this work is the premise that all societies organize space in a culturally-specific way. Thus, despite considerable variation in appearance, most traditional southern Bantu homesteads are organized according to the same underlying spatial code, which some archaeologists call the Central Cattle Pattern. The present author contributes to the debate on the antiquity of this particular pattern of homestead layout by examining Early Iron Age settlement patterns, focusing principally on two archaeological sites near Durban, South Africa, namely Nanda (occupied during the 7th and early 8th centuries AD) and KwaGandaganda (occupied between the beginning of the 7th century and the end of the 10th century AD). Excavations at these sites have yielded considerable information on Early Iron Age settlement patterns, thus facilitating a better understanding of the cosmology of the early agriculturalists. The author focuses on rites of passage and political organization. Current evidence indicates that Early Iron Age society was complex, integrated into extensive communication networks and characterized by elaborate rituals and ceremonies associated with transition across social boundaries. Bibliogr.