Pastoral Nomads of the Central Namib Desert, by John Kinahan
In Pastoral Nomads of the Central Namib Desert, John Kinahan has uncovered a wealth of archaeological evidence for the development of nomadic pastoralism in the Namib Desert during the last 2000 years.
Into the wilderness: the problematic archaeology of nomadic pastoralism in southern Africa
Until the eighteenth century of the Christian era, treacherous shoals and inadequate charts kept the European world from extending its influence to the Namib Desert on the south-western coast of Africa. Lured by the riches of the East, passing mariners saw only bleak, unending dunes, rumoured to be the home of a people so primitive that they lacked even the power of speech. Then, just as it seemed the tide of history would sweep on and leave this desolate place forever, more adventurous travellers pressed deeper inland, meeting powerful nomadic communities with great herds of livestock. The Namib Desert had revealed itself, quite unexpectedly, as the edge of a dynamic regional economy - the last frontier of European imperialism in Africa. By the mid-nineteenth century trading and mission outposts were established at several important centres on the coast and in the interior. But in little more than a century the nomads were reduced to dire poverty and began to abandon their desert pastures, leaving great stretches of the landscape entirely depopulated. So rapid was this decline, and so deep was European antipathy toward the local customs and language, that today very little is known of the nomads, their way of life and their history. In a sense, therefore, it is almost as if they had never existed and their descendants, the Namibians of today, having lost not only their land and wealth, lost virtually all recollection of the precolonial era. Over the last one hundred years, historians have often caricatured the Namibian past as a series of destructive tribal conflicts, resolved only by the eventual imposition of colonial rule. Although critical historians have rejected these myths, the paucity of source material other than the biased observations of early settlers has effectively retarded the development of an alternative perspective. Precolonial Namibian history is largely unrecorded, but crucial evidence still exists in the form of archaeological remains, and it is to these neglected sources that I have turned to reconstruct the course of the last few millennia in the Central Namib Desert. The research described here covered several hundred archaeological sites, including the remains of large settlements in areas that are now completely deserted. Evidence from these sites forms the basis of this book which is my attempt to regain for the history of Namibia those lost episodes of the last two thousand years, from the first appearance of the pastoral economy, until the advent of the colonial era. Prior to this investigation the Namib archaeological sequence was poorly known, being incomplete for want of essential field evidence and, I believe, severely hampered by inappropriate premises of research. Although the research I describe in this book builds upon previous knowledge, my arguments and general approach are new to the archaeology of this region. In contrast to earlier research which tended to embrace the conventional history and project the descriptions of the nineteenth century deep into the past, I have developed a largely independent account, presenting the archaeological evidence for each step towards a history of the economy and society of the Namib pastoralists. This introductory chapter first presents the background to the research, describing the Central Namib Desert and the archaeological sequence as it is presently known. Then follows a general introduction to the problem and a brief presentation of the approach followed in the rest of the book. [...]
This is an excerpt from the book: Pastoral Nomads of the Central Namib Desert, by John Kinahan.
Book title: Pastoral Nomads of the Central Namib Desert
Subtitle: The people history forgot
Author: John Kinahan
Publisher: Namibia Archeological Trust; New Namibia Books
2nd Edition. Windhoek, Namibia 2001
ISBN 9991677917 / ISBN 99916-779-1-7
Softcover, 15x21 cm, 167 pages, numerous maps, diagrams, drawings and photographs
Kinahan, John im Namibiana-Buchangebot
This study, focussing on the pastoral nomads of the Central Namib Desert, presents a new and challenging approach to the precolonial history of Namibia.
Dieses Buch stellt den Versuch dar, die Literatur zur Geschichte Namibias bis zur Unabhängigkeit im Jahr 1990 als Nachschlagewerk zusammenzufassen.
In its 2nd revised edition this guide provides an interesting and general introduction into the roadside geology of Namibia.
A History of Namibia provides an invaluable introduction and reference source to the past of a country that is often neglected.
Studies in the African Past, Volume 5
Sie bauten, doch sie blieben nicht. Zur Steinkreisarchitektur der einstigen Wanderhirten in der Namib
Die Essenz aus langjähriger und intensiver archäologischer und volkerkundlicher Forschung in Namibia
Archaeologically yours introduces research methods and their results in the prehistory of southern Africa and the recent history in Namibia.
Studies in the African Past, Volume 5