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Abstract

Late antique and medieval cotton and wool textiles found in the middle Nile Valley (Nubia, northern Sudan) were analysed for their technical characteristics and strontium (Sr) isotope composition. All wool textiles exhibit Sr isotope signatures consistent with the isotopic background of the region studied and are considered to be of local origin. However, a medieval wool kilim from Meinarti shows technical and aesthetic features suggesting its foreign Maghreb provenance. As this fabric dates back to the occupation of Meinarti by the Beni Ikrima tribe, it is suggested that the kilim was woven by the Beni Ikrima people from local Nubian raw material. The cotton samples tested come from abroad and document trade with the oases of the Egyptian Western Desert, the west coast of India, and perhaps also with the Arabian Peninsula or Pakistan.

Open Access
In: Journal of African Archaeology
Author:

Abstract

Bone tools from Taforalt Cave constitute the largest North African Later Stone Age (LSA) bone tool technocomplex recovered to-date. Use-trace analyses show that the small, pointed forms which dominate the assemblage show microtopographic patterning consistent with ethnographic bone tools used to make coiled basketry. The presence of coiled basketry likely scaffolded emergent cultural forms reflected in increased sedentism, resource intensification, and greater population density at Taforalt. This study explores the relationship between coiled basketry and archaeologically co-occurring technologies. Ethnographic analogies derived from Indigenous Californian groups provide a model for how resource-specific collection, processing, storage, and preparation requirements may have been supported technologically.

Open Access
In: Journal of African Archaeology

Abstract

Archaeological mitigation efforts in advance of Lesotho’s Metolong Dam involved comprehensive documentation of rock paintings in the area threatened with inundation, as well as pigment characterisation and direct dating. This paper gives an overview of the rock arts found and their key features. Four traditions are present. Most paintings belong to the fine-line San tradition, but there are also examples of Type 3 images previously only recognised in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Two other traditions are identified as being made by local Basotho communities. Contextual evidence suggests that they relate to male identity and, in the case of ochre smears and handprints, specifically to male initiation rituals. Some of the rock art sites identified are, in fact, used today by male and female initiation schools. The importance of comprehensively documenting rock art in other locations where it is at risk of being lost via development projects is stressed. Metolong sets a standard for rock art recording in cultural resource management work in the wider region.

Open Access
In: Journal of African Archaeology

Abstract

A distinct concentration of 150 gallery graves dating to the Late Neolithic (2400–1700 BC) occurs in Göteryd parish in the South Swedish Uplands. This study investigates why such a concentration of gallery graves exists in this region and why these were not exchanged by new monuments in the Bronze Age. In order to discuss these issues, the distribution of the monuments and the stray finds have been analysed and correlated to the results of local pollen analysis. The results support the impression of abandonment at the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The processes of expansion and abandonment seem to reflect general population trends, as discussed in recent works on population dynamics. Göteryd parish is a highland region and marginal from an agricultural point of view, but it borders on fertile and plain coastal areas, which are easily accessible through river valleys. In periods of population growth, Göteryd parish would absorb people from the coastal plains, a process that probably was reversed when the population shrank. The geographical position of the Göteryd area created a particular dynamic and made it vulnerable to changes in population dynamics, social networks, and climate.

Open Access
In: Acta Archaeologica

Abstract

Kansyore pottery-using groups of the northeastern Lake Victoria Basin represent one of only a few examples of ‘complex’ hunter-gatherers in Africa. Archaeologists link evidence of specialized fishing, a seasonal land-use cycle between lake and riverine sites, and intensive investment in ceramic production to behavioral complexity after 9 thousand years ago (ka). However, a gap in the Kansyore radiocarbon record of the region between ~7 and 4.4 cal ka limits explanations of when and why social and economic changes occurred. This study provides the first evidence of lakeshore occupation during this temporal break at the only well-studied Kansyore site in eastern Uganda, Namundiri A. Within the context of other sites in nearby western Kenya, radiometric and faunal data from the site indicate a move from the lake to a greater reliance on riverine habitats with middle Holocene aridity ~5–4 cal ka and the arrival of food producers to the region after ~3 cal ka.

Open Access
In: Journal of African Archaeology
The open access publication of this book has been published with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

In Shrines in a Fluid Space: The Shaping of New Holy Sites in the Ionian Islands, the Peloponnese and Crete under Venetian Rule (14th-16th Centuries), Argyri Dermitzaki reconstructs the devotional experiences within the Greek realm of the Venetian Stato da Mar of Western European pilgrims sailing to Jerusalem. The author traces the evolution of the various forms of cultic sites and the perception of them as nodes of a wider network of the pilgrims’ ‘holy topography’. She scrutinises travelogues in conjunction with archaeological, visual and historical evidence and offers a study of the cultic phenomena and sites invested with exceptional meaning at the main ports of call of the pilgrims’ galleys in the Ionian Sea, the Peloponnese and Crete.
In: Shrines in a Fluid Space: The Shaping of New Holy Sites in the Ionian Islands, the Peloponnese and Crete under Venetian Rule (14th-16th Centuries)
In: Shrines in a Fluid Space: The Shaping of New Holy Sites in the Ionian Islands, the Peloponnese and Crete under Venetian Rule (14th-16th Centuries)