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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 4 (2) 2006

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F.-X. Fauvelle-Aymar, K. Sadr, F. Bon & D. Gronenborn

The visibility and invisibility of herders' kraals in southern Africa, with reference to a possible Early Contact Period Khoekhoe kraal at KFS 5, Western Cape

Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 4 (2), 2007, pages 253-271, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10075

Abstract
The Europeans who landed on the shores of the South African Cape from the late 15th century onwards encountered local herders whom they later referred to as the Hottentots (now known as the Khoekhoe). There are written references to the settlements and livestock of these pastoralists, but archaeologists have not had much success in discovering any such sites. This absence of archaeological evidence for recent Khoekhoe kraals has been interpreted by some scholars as an indication for a general archaeological invisibility of nomadic pastoralist sites. This article reports on the archaeology of an extensive, low density surface spread of artefacts, KFS 5 (Western Cape), which possibly represents a Khoekhoe kraal dating to the time of the first contact with Europeans. Data are compared to other archaeological evidence of cattle pens in southern Africa and the issues of the visibility of prehistoric and historic kraals are re-addressed.

Résumé
Les Européens qui accostèrent en Afrique du Sud à partir de la fin du XVe siècle rencontrèrent des éleveurs qu'ils appelèrent Hottentots (et qui sont aujourd'hui connus sous le nom de Khoekhoe). Nombre de sources écrites évoquent l'habitat et le bétail de ces éleveurs, dont aucun site n'a cependant été clairement identifié par les archéologues. Cette absence de documentation archéologique a parfois permis de conclure à l'invisibilité archéologique des pasteurs nomades. En jaugeant les faits à l'aune des recherches archéologiques conduites en Afrique australe sur les enclos à bétail, cet article livre l'étude d'un site présentant une nappe de matériel étendue et de faible densité, KFS 5 (Western Cape), qui constitue peut-être la trace matérielle d'un kraal khoekhoe datant de la première période de contact avec les Européens. Cette découverte suggère que de tels kraals sont donc bel et bien visibles archéologiquement.




Keywords: herders, historical archaeology, Khoekhoe, kraal, lithic industries, Southern Africa, vitrified dung


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Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
Timothy Insoll, UK
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Eric Huysecom, Switzerland
David Killick, USA
Savino di Lernia, Italy
Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Belgium
Scott MacEachern, USA
David Mattingly, UK
Susan Keech McIntosh, USA
David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
Peter Robertshaw, USA
Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

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Annabelle Gallin, France
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