A feature of the dress of some people depicted in rock paintings of the southeastern San is a bandolier -- strips or strings of what are probably leather, sinew or beads which criss-cross the chest of the people shown wearing them. A similar item of dress is worn in a wide range of African societies by diviners/spirit mediums and by initiands during their puberty rites. In this article, possible reasons for this correspondence in dress of southeastern San and Black farmers are explored and discussed within the context of inter-group culture exchange. It is concluded that this item of dress was brought with Black farmers as they moved southwards from west and central Africa, and was subsequently introduced to some southeastern San groups with whom they had established close and symbiotic relationships. Some of the other elements in San rock paintings that are present in areas occupied by Black farmers and San, but which are absent from areas where these groups did not come into contact with each other, may also have been introduced into southeastern San culture and art as a result of the influence of Black farmers on San cultures. This process is likely to have contributed to regional diversity in the overt content and the symbolism of San rock paintings.
The Goodwin Series volumes are companions to the South African Archaeological Bulletin and are distributed to members of the South African Archaeological Society and the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists. The series began in 1972 in honour of the late Professor A J H Goodwin, the founder of the South African Archaeological Society and the first professional archaeologist in South Africa. Each of the nine issues published between 1972 and 2006 has a theme relating to the study of archaeology in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from Quaternary Studies to Rock Art and Historical Archaeology. Individual issues are published at irregular intervals according to the availability of funds and interest expressed by prospective guest editors. All papers are peer-reviewed.
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