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In: War and Sacrifice

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.

In: Journal of African Archaeology