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Archaeological Evidence of Domestic Sheep in the Namib Desert During the First millennium AD

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image of Journal of African Archaeology

Bones of domestic sheep dated to the early first millennium AD are described from the Dâures massif in the Namib Desert. The remains confirm earlier investigations which inferred the acquisition of livestock from indirect evidence in the rock art, suggesting a fundamental shift in ritual practice at this time. Dating of the sheep remains is in broad agreement with the dating of other finds in the same area and in southern Africa as a whole. The presence of suspected sheep bone artefacts, possibly used for ritual purposes, draws attention to the importance of livestock as more than a component of diet in the changing economy of hunter-gatherer society.

Affiliations: 1: School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand ; 2: Namib Desert Archaeological Survey


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