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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Transformations in Southern African History: Proposals for a Sweeping Overview of Change and Development, 6000 BC to the Present
Author:Ehret, Christopher
Geographic term:Southern Africa
History and Exploration
Abstract:The 'longue durée' of southern African history - from the seventh millennium BC to the present - has been characterized by recurrent episodes of intense cultural and economic transformation, followed in each instance by longer periods of less fundamental change that built on and modified the social and economic patterns that took shape during the transformative period. Each such transformation was accomplished within a period of a few centuries and has involved the replacement of one dominant form of domestic production by another, the establishment of new forms of social and political organization, and the widespread adoption of the languages spoken by those particular communities which became the focal points of the transformation. Drawing on the findings of archaeologists, historians, and linguists, the author traces the flow of history in southern Africa through four great transformations and their aftermath: the microlithic, dating to 7000-6000 BC; the agricultural, beginning with the spread of livestock raising in the period 500 BC-AD 100 and closely followed by the establishment of cultivation as a way of life in the period 100 BC-AD 300; the 'later Iron Age' between 900 and 1200; and the Atlantic transformation from 1650 to the present. Notes, ref.