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Settlement and Subsistence of Prehistoric Farming Communities in the Mid-Zambezi Valley, Northern Zimbabwe

Gilbert Pwiti
The South African Archaeological Bulletin
Vol. 51, No. 163 (Jun., 1996), pp. 3-6
DOI: 10.2307/3888926
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3888926
Page Count: 4
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Settlement and Subsistence of Prehistoric Farming Communities in the Mid-Zambezi Valley, Northern Zimbabwe
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Abstract

Results of recent archaeological research in the mid-Zambezi valley in northern Zimbabwe are presented. This part of Zimbabwe has previously been neglected in archaeological research, mainly because of its hot, dry climate which was assumed to have imposed limitations on human settlement. The results show that farming communities were present in this area by the middle of the first millennium AD. Their settlement patterning seems to have been influenced, in part, by the availability of water supplies and suitable agricultural soils on alluvial flood plains along river and stream valleys. While other factors are not ruled out, they appear to be secondary to the requirements of the subsistence agricultural economy in locational decisions. Although some differences are observable, this pattern of settlement seems to continue into the second millennium AD. Direct evidence for the subsistence economy shows that this was based on agricultural production and livestock herding. There was, however, probably greater dependence on hunting during the first millennium AD, at least in the early periods.

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