Milk not Meat: The Role of Milk amongst the Khoe Peoples of Southern Africa

In: Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 Department of Anthropology and Development Studies
  • 2 Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Historical sources emphasise the different uses of livestock in southern African Khoe societies. Here we review the role of milk gained from livestock amongst the Khoe, as recorded over the last few centuries, and demonstrate that it was of greater subsistence value than the meat of livestock. In addition, we highlight the recorded technological, social and ritual importance of milk amongst the Khoe. Finally, attention is drawn to recent genetic research that suggests the dependence of southern African Later Stone Age herders on milk.

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