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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The bees are our sheep': the role of honey and fat in the transition to livestock keeping during the last two thousand years in southernmost Africa
Authors:Russell, ThembiISNI
Lander, Faye
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Geographic term:Southern Africa
Subjects:rock art
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/0067270X.2015.1051793
Abstract:In this paper the authors suggest a model for how some foragers may have become stock-keepers in the past. Forager beekeepers stay in one place and cultivate a storable and exchangeable product, honey. This desired product has been used by the Okiek forager beekeepers of Kenya to obtain livestock from their pastoralist/agropastoralist neighbours. The authors believe that amongst foragers such as these the transition to livestock-keeping would not have been as difficult as is sometimes postulated. They describe parallels between sheep, bees, their products and their keeping, which are informative to the debate. The difficulty for archaeologists is that the archaeology of beekeeping is largely invisible. One exception relates to evidence of interactions between foragers and bees documented in rock-paintings in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Mountains, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Here, too, are paintings of sheep that the authors suggest are old and may represent how foragers thought of sheep during their first encounters with them. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]