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Some Recent Radiocarbon Dates from Southern Africa

Martin Hall and J. C. Vogel
The Journal of African History
Vol. 21, No. 4 (1980), pp. 431-455
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/182003
Page Count: 25
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Some Recent Radiocarbon Dates from Southern Africa
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Abstract

In this paper we review radiocarbon dates which have become available over the past three years for the more recent archaeological sites south of the Cunene and Limpopo Rivers, assessing the determinations within the broader context of economy and society. For a framework, we make use of broad physiographic divisions of southern Africa, thus breaking from the artificial constraints of modern political divisions and allowing greater possibilities of synthesis Within the set of new dates there are several fields in which recent radiocarbon determinations have been particularly important. The nature of hunting and gathering and herding communities in the arid western regions of the sub-continent is now more fully understood and more information is available about the succession of lithic industries in the south-western interior. In the south-eastern coastal areas the geographical extent of the earliest farming communities has been firmly dated. New determinations are beginning to provide a firmer chronology for the succession of ceramic industries in the east, and reassessment of the dating of the important sites of Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe demands a revision of concepts of early state development and trading contact with the east coast.

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