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Title: The spaces between places : a landscape study of foragers on the Greater Mapungubwe Landscape, southern Africa
Author: Forssman, Timothy Robin
ISNI:       0000 0004 4377 900X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Our understanding of the Later Stone Age (LSA) on the Greater Mapungubwe Landscape has until now been fairly limited. However, it is a landscape upon which foragers witnessed and partook in agriculturalist state formation between AD 900 and 1300, altering their cultural behaviour to suit their changing social and political topography. Nowhere else in southern Africa were foragers part of such developments. For this project a landscape approach was used to study the various changes in the regional LSA record as well as the way in which foragers interacted with farmers. In order to address these issues, data were obtained from an archaeological survey followed by an excavation of seven sites in north-eastern Botswana, part of the Greater Mapungubwe Landscape. These finds indicate that the local forager record varies chronologically and spatially, which had not previously been recorded. Foragers also used a variety of site types and in each a different forager expression was deposited, providing indications of their changing settlement pattern. Notably, this included a gradual movement into agriculturalist homesteads beginning by at least AD 1000 and concluding by AD 1300, when the Mapungubwe capital was abandoned. Thus, interactions, at least in some cases, led to assimilation. There is also clear evidence of exchange with agriculturalists at many of the excavated sites, but this does not always seem to be related to their proximity with one another. Performing a landscape study has also made it possible to make two general conclusions with regard to LSA research. First, these data challenge ethnography, displaying its limitations particularly with linking modern Bushman practices, such as aggregation and dispersal patterns or hxaro gift exchange, to LSA foragers. Second, a full landscape understanding combines the archaeology of multiple cultural landscapes and in this case also crosses national borders, two themes often neglected in southern African archaeological studies.
Supervisor: Mitchell, Peter John Sponsor: Palaeontological Scientific Trust ; Meyerstein Fund (University of Oxford) ; National Research Foundation.
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archeology ; History of Africa ; Foragers ; farmers ; interaction ; Later Stone Age ; landscape ; Mapungubwe ; settlement patterns ; ethnography