Foragers in the middle Limpopo Valley: Trade, Place-making, and Social Complexity

Foragers in the middle Limpopo Valley: Trade, Place-making, and Social Complexity

by Tim Forssman


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Between the last centuries BC and the early second millennium AD, central southern Africa witnessed massive social change. Several landscapes hosted a variety of socio-political developments that led to the establishment of state-level society at Mapungubwe, c. 1220 AD in the middle Limpopo Valley. These different landscapes were connected through various forms of circuitry, including social, political, economic and topographic networks. While most often these systems and developments are discussed in the context of farmer societies, local forager communities also saw associated shifts. They were present from before the arrival of farmers and not only witnessed but also participated in local systems leading to the appearance of complex society. Despite numerous studies in the valley, this has not been explored; generally, forager involvement in socio-political developments has been ignored and only farmer sequences have been considered. However, from the early first millennium AD, foragers themselves transformed their own society. Changes have been noted in settlement patterns, craft production, trade relations, social interactions, wealth accumulation, and status. Moreover, these changes occurred unevenly across the landscape; at different forager sites, different responses to shifting social networks have been recorded. When viewed together, the spectrum of change suggests that valley foragers developed social complexity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781789696851
Publisher: Archaeopress Archaeology
Publication date: 10/31/2020
Series: Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology Series , #100
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Tim Forssman was born in Johannesburg in 1986. He began cultivating a passion for prehistory and nature at school. Having completed an archaeology degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, he is now studying his Ph D at the University of Oxford in England. He is currently researching ancient Bushmen who once lived in the remote parts of eastern Botswana. His research interests include the Iron Age, experimental archaeology, the Stone Age and rock art.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Interactions, frameworks and complexity

Chapter 2: Forager contexts in the middle Limpopo Valley

Chapter 3: Continuities and discontinuities across the contact divide

Chapter 4: Early socio-political change

Chapter 5: Foragers during and after state formation

Chapter 6: Networks of Change in the valley and beyond

Chapter 7: Redressing perspectives of foragers interactions

Chapter 8: References

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