Namib

The archaeology of an African desert
  • Publication Date: Sept 2021
  • Dimensions and Pages: 215 x 135mm Extent: 544pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-760-1
  • Rights: Southern African – print only
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 420.00

This is the first ever full-length, comprehensive overview of the archaeology of the Namib
Desert. Namib goes a long way toward reclaiming the history of the desert’s people from
narrow empiricism and difficult-to-access specialised archaeological literature. It is a
significant achievement.
— Peter Mitchell, FSA, Professor of African Archaeology, University of Oxford

This is an exceptionally interesting synthesis of the entire historic and prehistoric sequence in
the Namib. There is plenty of new data here, as well as a very coherent theory that holds it all
together and turns the otherwise dry archaeological data into a compelling narrative.
— Professor Karim Sadr, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

This book presents a welcome synthesis of a vast body of information that spans the entire
human occupation of the Namib Desert, in a fascinating ecological setting.
— Dr Erik Marsh, National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina

This is a story of human survival over the last one million years in the Namib Desert – one of the most hostile environments on Earth. The resilience and ingenuity of desert communities provides a vivid picture of our species’ response to climate change, and ancient strategies to counter ever-present risk. Dusty fragments of stone, pottery and bone tell a history of perpetual transition, of shifting and temporary states of balance.

Namib digs beneath the usual evidence of archaeology to uncover a world of arcane rituals, of travelling rain-makers, and of intricate social networks which maintained vital systems of negotiated access to scarce resources. It covers a million years of human history in the Namib Desert, including the Earlier, Middle and Later Stone Ages, colonial occupation and genocide, to the invasion of the desert by South African troops during World War I. This is more than a work of scientific research; it is a love-song to the desert and its people.

1. INTRODUCTION A radical new approach
2. FIRST FOOTSTEPS Early human ancestors
3. TIMES ARROW Desert survival strategies
4. MOUNTAIN REFUGE Isolated refugia & ritual practice
5. ELEPHANTS AND RAIN Rain-making and initiation
6. DESERT GARDEN Pottery & tending desert food plants
7. THE FAMILY HERD Ovahimba desert pastoralists
8. THE BLACK SWAN Indigenous views on colonial penetration
9. MEN IN HATS Missionaries, traders, prospectors, hunters
10. THE DEATH OF MEMORY Lifting the veil on colonial Genocide
EPILOGUE
Critical reappraisal: desert as natural wilderness or – the familiar home of people now banished?

John Kinahan is an independent Namibian scholar and has worked in the Namib Desert for more than 40 years. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

This is the first ever full-length, comprehensive overview of the archaeology of the Namib
Desert. Namib goes a long way toward reclaiming the history of the desert’s people from
narrow empiricism and difficult-to-access specialised archaeological literature. It is a
significant achievement.
— Peter Mitchell, FSA, Professor of African Archaeology, University of Oxford

This is an exceptionally interesting synthesis of the entire historic and prehistoric sequence in
the Namib. There is plenty of new data here, as well as a very coherent theory that holds it all
together and turns the otherwise dry archaeological data into a compelling narrative.
— Professor Karim Sadr, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

This book presents a welcome synthesis of a vast body of information that spans the entire
human occupation of the Namib Desert, in a fascinating ecological setting.
— Dr Erik Marsh, National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina

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