Photo overlooking the totem pole in the Pitt Rivers Museum


During the Final Honour School, students delve more deeply into the subject areas which have been introduced to them in the first year. They will also decide on which three options they would like to take from the following list of 30 subjects. One option is studied in the second year, two are studied in the third year.

The Archaeology of Southern African Hunter-gatherers

Home to some of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils and now providing compelling new evidence of the antiquity of modern forms of behaviour, southern Africa also has one of the richest and best understood rock art traditions in the world. In addition, anthropological research here has made a significant contribution to both the development and the critique of general models of hunter-gatherer economic and social organisation.

This course provides a broad overview of some of the main recent developments in the archaeology of southern Africa’s hunter-gatherers. The overall treatment is chronological, from the first anatomically and behaviourally modern humans to the present day situation of Bushman communities in the Kalahari. Within this framework, the emphasis is placed on changing paradigms in the explanation of past hunter-gatherer societies and on the relationship between archaeological and anthropological data in understanding social and economic change. In addition to the lectures listed below, eight tutorials provide an opportunity to explore particular issues in greater depth. The extensive southern African collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum are available for teaching this course. 

This course can be taken with, or independently of, Farming and early states in Sub-Saharan Africa

Last update on 09/12/16 by Robyn Mason.

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