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Thames & Hudson

Chapter 10 - Holocene Africa
Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, students should be able to:

    understand the tremendous geographic, climatic, and environmental differences found throughout Africa, and their effect on local social developments

    describe the lifeways of Holocene hunter-gatherers in Africa

    understand the role of ethnographic analogy in the interpretation of archaeological material

    discuss how the intensification of hunting, gathering, and fishing was a pre-adaptation for early farming

    characterize the transition to farming in the various regions of Africa: the Sahara, Central, and Southern Africa

    trace the beginnings of sedentism in Africa's various regions

    enumerate the different domesticated species of plants and animals, and say whether they were imported or indigenous

    describe how conditions along the Nile were conducive to farming but also created competition

    explain how competition among early farmers led to the development of more complex groups

    discuss the Bantu expansion and its relationship to the spread of farming and ironworking

    understand the general outline of urbanization and state formation in Africa

    describe the conditions present in Predynastic Egypt, and how they led to the formation of towns, led by elites

    explain how Predynastic polities were unified into the early Egyptian pharaonic state

    characterize the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms in terms of their political, economic, and social systems, what aspects display continuity, and how they differed from each other

    describe the use of writing in pharaonic Egypt

    discuss the causes and consequences of the Intermediate Periods in Egypt

    understand Egypt's relationship with the Mediterranean, Nubia, and other areas

    describe the development of Nubian and Ethiopian states and their relationship to Egypt

    trace the later development of urbanization and state formation in Northern, Western, Central, East, and Southern Africa

    characterize trade, both within Africa and with non-African entities, and its impact on African societies

    assess the impact of Christianity and Islam on African civilizations

    discuss the arrival and impact of Europeans and Americans in Africa beginning in the 15th century


Holocene cultures in Africa must be contextualized within the continent's huge size and environmental diversity.

    depressions below sea level
    mountains over 5000 m (16,000 ft)
    major rivers and lakes
    high and low temperatures
    drastically differing wet and dry seasons
    complex vegetation and climate: rainforest, savanna, steppe, desert, Mediterranean, and montane environments

This variety resulted in several population movements, technological innovations, varied food-production strategies, and socio-political and ideological developments.

The technological terms once used to describe African prehistory have become outdated with the increasing availability and complexity of data, so are not used here.

Microlithic tools originated earlier than the Holocene, for example they are found at Matupi Cave (Democratic Congo) 30,000 years ago, and at Klasies River Mouth (South Africa) at c. 70,000-60,000 years ago. Many Holocene hunting, gathering, and fishing groups and some early farming societies continued to use microlithic tool industries: tiny "backed" blades and flakes mounted in composite tools. These indicate more efficient stone use and intensified hunting, since some points indicate use of the bow and arrow Core-tools such as axes and hoes also remained useful to some later hunter-gatherer societies for woodworking and unearthing plant foods.

Southern and Central Africa Stone industries of later hunter-gatherers include:

    the Oakhurst complex of large scrapers, bone tools, and few or no microliths dates to about 10,000-6000 BC
    the Wilton industry, featuring microliths, dates to about 6000 BC

These (and other) industries are associated with Khoisan language speakers, who foraged in southern Africa until recently. Archaeological evidence includes:

    organic remains from dry caves such as Melkhoutboom Cave (South Africa)
    waterlogged sites such as Gwisho Hot Springs (Southern Zambia)

These sites indicate use of bows, arrows, digging-sticks, pegs, wedges, bark trays, leather bags and clothing, and plant foods and fibers. Plants and animal bones reveal that Southwestern Cape groups moved between the coast in winter and inland in summer.

Ethnohistoric and ethnographic data aid interpretation of archaeological evidence: people gathered at resource-rich seasons, exchanged commodities and reinforced social relationships, but later dispersed into small groups. Numerous artifact types have been found, and ocher was used for body decoration and rock paintings, which are abundant in southern Africa. At exposed locations these may be of later Holocene date, but at Apollo 11 Cave (Namibia), animal paintings were dated to 26,000 years ago. Engravings at Wonderwerk Cave (South Africa) date to about 10,000 years ago.

Climate conditions limit finds of artistic behavior in central Africa, so stone artifact assemblages are studied. The Tshitolian industry (Angola and Democratic Congo) features microliths and small core axes, picks, and leaf-shaped points. The toolmakers may have been ancestral to modern hunter-gatherers known as the BaTwa, once called Pygmies.

Northern, Eastern, and Western Africa The earliest African farming was part of a continuum of socio-economic change over thousands of years, not an abrupt or rapid adaptive shift.

North Africa and the Sahara. Before the Holocene, economic intensification, early sedentism, and some territoriality are seen among some hunter-gatherers in the Nile Valley's favorable but confined environment:

    Wadi Kubbaniya (Egypt), 18,000-17,000 years ago
    the Qadan sites (Egypt), 15,000-11,000 years ago
    Kom Ombo plain sites (Egypt), about 10,000 years ago
    Catfish Cave (Egypt), 5000 BC
    Early Khartoum (Egypt), about 6000 BC
    Central and southern Sahara, in the 9th millennium BC

In North Africa and the Sahara, climate was moister by about 11,000 years ago and similar trends are seen:

    Columnata (Algeria). c. 6000 BC.
    Kharga Oasis (Sahara), c. 6000 BC
    Dakhleh Oasis (Sahara), c. 7000-6500 BC

The oldest Saharan rock art comprises engravings of wild and domesticated animals, and thus probably date from 5000-4000 BC. Central and southern Saharan sites are often located by rivers and lakes to accommodate fishing, along with hunting and gathering. A dugout canoe, dated to about 6000 BC, from Dufuna (Nigeria) indicates aquatic resource use. Pottery and bone harpoons similar to Early Khartoum are also found.

East Africa. Aquatic resource evidence is also found at Lake Turkana (Kenya)

    at Lowasera and Lothagam, c. 7000 BC
    at Lopoy, c. AD 1000.
    on the shores of Lake Edward (Democratic Congo)
    at Ishango, at least 7000 years old but perhaps 18,000-16,000 years old

Elsewhere in East Africa hunter-gatherers exploited terrestrial fauna and increasingly used microlithic tools:

    Lukenya Hill, (Kenya)
    Kenyan Rift Valley sites

Obsidian was traded long-distance, objects feature high quality workmanship. Ethnographic studies of the Hadza and Sandawe in Tanzania and the Okiek in Kenya are useful for interpreting past hunter-gatherers.

West Africa. In West Africa, hunting and gathering intensification, with increased sedentism, microliths, ground-stone axes, pottery, and eventual domestication is seen at numerous sites

    Iwo Eleru rockshelter (Nigeria), dating to c. 10,000-1500 BC
    Shum Laka rockshelter (southern Cameroon) was occupied from 31,000 years ago

African farming developed gradually. The earliest evidence, from north of the equator, probably was related to environmental fluctuations.

The Sahara The earliest farming involved domesticated animals, with evidence from the eastern Sahara. Wild grass use and ceramics are seen along with increasing sedentism:

    Nabta Playa (Egypt), by 7000 BC
    Enneri Bardagué (Chad), from the 6th millennium BC
    Uan Muhuggiag (Libya), by the 5th millennium BC
    Grotte Capeletti (Algeria), by the 5th millennium BC
    Adrar Bous (Niger), by the 5th millennium BC
    Dhar Tichitt (Mauritania), by the mid-2nd millennium BC
    Zinchecra (Libya) by the mid-1st millennium BC

Domesticated sheep or goats at Nabta Playa and Grotte Capeletti date to 5000 BC, suggesting Western Asian origins.

The Nile Valley Farming began later in the Nile Valley, appearing relatively suddenly, through introduction of western Asian plants and animals. Afroasiatic and Semitic languages were spoken, later spreading across northern Africa.

    the Merimde site (Nile Delta), where village dwellers lived in small mud houses on narrow lanes and made pottery, cultivated barley, emmer wheat, and flax, and kept cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs from about 5000 BC.

    settlements in the Fayum Depression were similar, with numerous grain storage pits, and a find of wooden sickle with flaked stone inserts.

    From this culture rose the Predynastic cultures, from which emerged pharaonic Egypt by the end of the 4th millennium BC.

    More evidence of domesticated plant and animal use with ceramics and ground-stone tools is found to the south:

    the Esh Shaheinab site (Sudan), from the end of the 5th millennium BC

    Kadero (Sudan), by the end of the 5th millennium BC

    Along the middle Nile, early food producers of the 4th-millennium BC are termed the "A Group," who cultivated wheat and barley and herded sheep, goats, and cattle. They traded with and were influenced by the Predynastic lower Nile groups.

    at Jebel et Tomat (Sudan) and Qasr Ibrim (Egypt), cultivation appears in the early 1st millennium AD.

West Africa Early West African savanna farmers are not well known. Cultivation developed later than pastoralism, and important indigenous crops were millet, West African rice, and sorghum. In the rainforest region, yams and oil palms were probably important. Ground-stone artifacts and pottery occur as far south as the lower Congo, suggesting that mixed farming was widespread, though some continued to hunt and gather as well:

    at Karkarichinkat (Mali), by the early 2nd millennium BC
    at Gajiganna and Daima, near Lake Chad (Nigeria), by the late 2nd early 1st millennium BC.
    at Birimi (Ghana), in the later 2nd millennium BC
    at Ti-n-Akof (Burkina Faso) at the end of the 2nd millennium BC
    at Kursakata (Nigeria) by the mid-1st millennium BC
    at Jenné-jeno (Mali) in the late 1st millennium BC
    at one of the Kintampo sites (Ghana), in the 2nd millennium BC
    at Iwo Eleru (Nigeria), in the 4th millennium BC
    at Shum Laka (Cameroon), before 2000 BC
    at Nkang (Cameroon), in the 1st millennium BC

Bananas were introduced from Southeast Asia via East Africa. Their rapid spread to the West African rainforest suggests that their cultivation was already well-established.

Northeast and East Africa In Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, rock paintings indicate cattle herding but are not well-dated. Wheat and barley were introduced, but unique local varieties developed, and indigenous Ethiopian plants -- teff, noog, the false banana, ensete, coffee, and chat -- were domesticated. The ox-drawn plow probably arrived by the 1st millennium BC but did not spread further south. Linguistic evidence suggests herding and cultivation originated in the 5th millennium BC. Sites with such evidence include

    Asa Koma (Djibouti)
    Laga Oda and Lake Besaka (Ethiopia)
    Lalibela Cave (Ethiopia)
    Quiha (Ethiopia)
    Dongodien (Kenya)
    Enkapune Ya Muto (Kenya)
    Njoro River Cave (Kenya)
    Gogo Falls (Kenya)

For some time, pastoralism did not spread south of northern Tanzania due to the distribution of tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). Toward the end of the 1st millennium BC climatic changes created fly-free areas and pastoralism spread south with iron tools and weapons. Clearing woodland for cultivation further reduced tsetse infestation.

Except for Egypt, the Sudan, and parts of Mauritania and Niger, the earliest metallurgy was iron, not copper. Ironworking may have diffused from Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean or may have been an indigenous development. Important ironworking sites include

    Do Dimi (Niger)
    Taruga (Nigeria)
    Kemondo Bay (Tanzania)
    Meroë (Sudan)

with early evidence also in Cameroon, Gabon, and the Central African Republic. South of the equator, iron was not adopted until the 1st millennium AD. One remarkable early iron-using society in West Africa was that of Nok, who produced life-sized terracottas.

Movements of Bantu-speaking Peoples Iron was first used for ceremonial, decorative, and high-value artifacts, and later for tools and weapons. Its adoption co-occurred with the movements of Bantu-speaking people, who may also have spread farming south of the equator. A "Bantu expansion" began in the Grassfields of Cameroon, spread east through the savanna, reaching interlacustrine east-central Africa, then into the sub-equatorial savanna. Migration may also have occurred along the Atlantic coast and along the many rivers from the 2nd millennium BC until the late 1st millennium AD.

Ironworking Farmers Ironworking and farming next spread into South Africa, resulting in similar pottery traditions, collectively called the Chifumbaze complex. The Urewe subgroup near Lake Victoria, dating from mid-1st millennium BC to early 1st millennium AD, was made by iron-smelting village dwellers who used domesticated cattle, millet, and sorghum.

To their south, Chifumbaze people are divided into eastern and western groups. The eastern group, from around the 2nd century AD, expanded over 3000 km (1864 miles) in less than two centuries, from Kenya, where their pottery is called Kwale ware, south to Natal, South Africa, where it is called Matola ware. The "eastern" economy was based on millet, sorghum, and domesticated animals. Inland, other early iron-using farmers, represented by the Nkope and the Gokomere/Ziwa traditions, moved into Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Western groups, in Zambia by the mid-1st millennium AD, emphasized cattle and exploited copper deposits from the 1st millennium AD onwards. Ironworking was also important. Sites include:

    Kapwirimbwe (Zambia)
    Toutswe sites (Botswana)

Cattle thrived in drier environments and were accumulated as wealth, whereas to the west, metal filled this role. Other early cattle and millet farming societies in South Africa had Kwale-type wares by the 4th century AD. By the 7th century AD some sites indicate iron smelting:

    Silver Leaves (South Africa)
    Broederstroom (South Africa)
    Lydenburg (South Africa)

Domesticated Plants and Animals In savanna and highland eastern and southern Africa, millet, sorghum, and cowpeas were important. In the rainforest, yams, oil palm, root crops, pulses, and vegetables were grown. Southeast Asian imports, such as Asian yam, Asian rice, sugarcane, coconut, and citrus fruits arrived via Indonesian colonists in Madagascar and East Africa. Plantains and bananas may have arrived from India 2000 or even 3000 years ago.

Early cattle in the southern half of Africa were humpless (taurine), later crossbred with Indian zebu (humped) cattle. This generated diverse "Sanga" cattle breeds. Sheep breeds were also crossed, while goats of two types were less important. Other domesticates included donkeys, dogs, and finally, chickens, introduced from India and Southeast Asia.

Interaction Between Hunter-gatherers and Farmers Groups of stone-using hunter-gatherers remained in both East and central Africa. Some, as in the southwestern Cape, added domesticated sheep and later cattle to their traditional economies, adopted iron arrowheads and spear points, and made pottery under influence from nearby farmers. Sites include:

    Die Kelders.
    Bambata Cave

Metallurgy improved farming efficiency, increasing sedentism and population growth, sometimes resulting in large villages that grew into urban centers.

The earliest example of this process is seen on Egypt's lower Nile, which flooded annually and predictably, creating agricultural land surrounded by desert, resulting in population aggregation and rapid socio-economic and political change.

The Predynastic Period Cultures termed the Badarian and Naqada I, II, and III developed increasingly sophisticated material culture between about 4500 BC and 3000 BC. With good agriculture, social stratification, and trading contacts with Southwest Asia established, copper-, gold-, and silver-working were introduced. Numerous villages clustered along the Nile, and by about 3500 BC there were large settlements at Hierakonpolis, Koptos, Naqada, and Abydos, all in Upper (southern) Egypt.

An erroneous notion that Egypt was non-urban has been revised through discovery of centers extant by the 4th millennium BC: sprawling, low-density settlements in contrast to later towns. Other evidence for early urbanization may be deeply buried.

Later towns and cities had varying foci: administrative, cult, craft production, and military centers; others combined several roles. Agricultural hinterlands provided food. Predynastic period competition for resources, combined with religious mysticism, led some centers and individuals to accumulate more wealth and political power than others. By the late 4th millennium BC, elites ruled numerous centers of power and controlled limited areas using a combination of secular and sacred authority. Out of their violent rivalry, the Egyptian Dynastic state emerged c. 3100 BC.

Although there was contact with Mesopotamia, the Egyptian state was an indigenous development under a sacred ruler (the pharaoh), centered on Hierakonpolis. The famous Narmer Palette records events surrounding the unification, by warfare, of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The emergence of the pharaonic state was linked to the development of writing, which predated political unification. Once thought to be stimulated by Mesopotamian scripts, recent discoveries at Abydos have revealed an indigenous writing system earlier than Mesopotamia's. The complete difference between systems also supports independent origins.

The Early Dynastic Period The 3000 years of the Egyptian state are divided by periods of collapse known as the First, Second, and Third Intermediate Periods. The Early Dynastic Period comprised the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dynasties, from about 2950 to 2575 BC, and saw an increase in writing and the founding of Memphis (Cairo) as the administrative and economic capital. Rulers include Djoser, who built the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, dwarfing earlier royal tombs at Abydos. This began the practice of pyramid building. The skilled architect, Imhotep, wielded great economic and administrative power, indicating a highly centralized state.

The Old Kingdom The Old Kingdom lasted from about 2575 to 2150 BC and comprised the 4th to the 8th dynasties. Characterized by economic prosperity and political stability, the state was centrally organized around the pharaoh, who had both secular and sacred powers, associated with Horus, the hawk god. Later pharaohs were styled as the son of Ra, the sun god, and affiliated with Osiris, god of the dead and afterlife. Old Kingdom rulers were powerful and despotic, mediating between the gods and people to guarantee annual Nile floods and safety from enemies. The massive expenditures on public works used by only three generations of rulers must be contextualized within this setting:

    the pyramids of Snofru at Dahshur
    the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre (Cheops and Chefren) at Giza
    the three smaller pyramids for queens

Later pyramids were much smaller, indicating that the state's centralized control weakened as it depleted its economic base.

Archaeological evidence and inscriptions and texts reveal the socio-political and economic organization of the Old Kingdom. During this period the state extended its authority as far south as Buhen; from there, mining and trading expeditions reached the African interior. Taxation was based on agricultural products, raw materials, and labor. Government bureaucrats, workmen, artisans, artists, surveyors, architects, scribes, and managers kept a massive infrastructure running and managed overseas contacts. Initially controlled by the ruling family, priests also held high positions, receiving payment through royal estates and their produce, which eventually reverted to the king. The control of the pharaohs weakened, and possession of resources and estates become hereditary. Since productive land was limited but formed the economic basis, the ruler's power further weakened as royally-owned land diminished, while landownership and power among officials and priests increased. The period ended with a weakening of state control, possibly brought on by this loss of economic control and possible famines.

The First and Second Intermediate Periods and the Middle Kingdom The First Intermediate Period followed, from about 2125 to 1975 BC. Rival rulers created political instability. Mentuhotep managed to reunite Egypt, initiating the Middle Kingdom (c. 1975-1640 BC), the later 11th Dynasty to the 14th Dynasty. The period was generally stable, with less despotic pharaohs and a substantial bureaucracy. Small-scale pyramid building resumed for a short time. Forts were established, military campaigning increased, and long-distance trade grew, especially with Nubia.

Large numbers of Asiatics settled the Nile Delta. Some, known as the Hyksos, took over northern Egypt, ruling as the 15th and 16th dynasties around 1685 BC, while Theban kings continued to rule the south as the 17th Dynasty from c. 1640 to 1550 BC - the Second Intermediate Period. Despite political and economic non-integration, the era was reasonably stable. Bronzeworking, new crops, the horse and chariot, composite bows, and new musical instruments were introduced.

The New Kingdom and After Ahmose, taking the Theban throne in 1550 BC, evicted the Hyksos by 1520 BC, beginning the New Kingdom, which lasted until about 1075 BC and included the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties. Powerful pharaohs, including Thutmose I, Amenhotep II, Sety I, and Ramesses II, consolidated the state, and expanded it into an empire. Nubian gold provided wealth. The army and priesthood grew more powerful; temples and elite tombs were created in the Valley of the Kings. Strong afterlife beliefs resulted in complex mortuary rituals such as mummification.

Amenhotep IV, known as Akhenaten, attempted to replace traditional beliefs with a new religion based on the worship of the sun disc, or Aten. His successors, including Tutankhamun, reverted to previous practices. Akhenaten's new capital city of Amarna, originally known as Akhetaten, was abandoned after only 20 years, creating an ideal archaeological site. Extensive excavations indicate a society where the largest gap was between the residents as a whole and the ruling family.

Egypt disintegrated again when general instability also affected Mycenaean Greece and the states of Southwest Asia. The Third Intermediate Period, c. 1075 to 715 BC (the 21st Dynasty to the early 25th) ended with the reunification of Egypt and Nubia, by the Nubian ruler Piye. The Late Period followed, c. 715 to 332 BC, the later 25th Dynasty to the 30th Dynasty, during which Nubian, Egyptian, and Persian kings ruled. It was followed by the Second Persian period, and then the Greco-Roman period (332 BC-AD 395), ruled by the Macedonian and Ptolemaic dynasties. Egypt became a Roman colony in 30 BC, after Cleopatra and Marc Antony's defeat by Octavian.

Urban development also took place elsewhere, with substantial regional variation in subsistence, socio-political organization, religion, and trading contacts.

Nubia and Ethiopia
Kerma. Kerma, founded in the mid-3rd millennium BC, was the center of the Nubia's first state by the mid-2nd millennium BC. Mixed agriculture and trade in raw materials formed the economy. The city withered when Egypt conquered Nubia during the New Kingdom. Rectangular, elaborately fortified houses, a large circular elite structure and a monumental temple have been excavated. Several thousand graves include tombs and burial mounds, some including human sacrifices.

Napata and Meroë. Napata was important during the first half of the 1st millennium BC until the 4th century BC, when power transferred to Meroë. Important sites include

    cemetery sites at El Kurru and Nuri
    a cemetery and temples at Jebel Barkal
    a cemetery, temple, and town site at Sanam

Some are royal cemeteries with small, steep-sided pyramids, mummification, and hieroglyphic inscriptions demonstrating Egyptian influence. Napata produced the Nubian rulers who constituted Egypt's 25th Dynasty in the 8th and 7th centuries BC.

During the later 1st millennium BC and the early 1st millennium AD, the Meroitic state rose, and 20,000-25,000 people lived at Meroë, which had a walled royal precinct and temples to Egyptian and Meroitic deities. Iron slag indicates industrial activities. Six cemeteries contain rulers under small stone pyramids.

Imported artifacts indicate trade with Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. The Meroitic state first used Egyptian hieroglyphs, then developed its own alphabet, which can be read but not understood.

Aksum. Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite culture on the Ethiopian Plateau spanned the 1st millennium BC to the 7th century AD. The Meroitic leadership role was assumed by Aksum in the 4th century AD, with the port of Adulis facilitating Red Sea trade. Monumental stone architecture is displayed in elite dwellings, tombs, and stelae with indigenous inscriptions. Christianity was adopted early and Christian Ethiopia was Aksum's direct successor.

North and West Africa Greek and Phoenician colonies developed into Cyrene and Carthage. Among the Berbers, the Numidian kingdoms of the Maghreb emerged, with stone-built royal tombs showing Hellenistic influences. Roman conquest brought Imperial centers at Timgad (Algeria) and Leptis Magna (Libya). During the Islamic period, Kairouan (Tunisia) and al-Fustat (Egypt), became important.

It was once thought that Arab contact initiated West African urbanization in the late 1st millennium AD, but archaeological evidence at Jenné-jeno (Mali) indicates urbanization at least 1000 years earlier. The massive, uninvestigated site of Dakhlet el Atrous (Mauritania) dates from the late 2nd and early 1st millennia BC. Ancient Ghana dates to the mid-1st millennium AD, and during the 2nd millennium AD, indigenous states included Mali, Songhai, Kanem, and Borno. Urban centers included Tegdaoust, Timbuktu, Gao, Kano, and Birnin Gazargamo. Extensive trade brought Islam and Arabic literacy.

In the southern rainforest, indigenous urbanization in the early 2nd millennium AD is seen at Begho (Ghana), and Ife and Benin City (Nigeria). By the 19th century the Yoruba (Nigeria) were highly urbanized. State development includes Akan (Ghana), the Yoruba state of Old Oyo, and the Edo state surrounding Benin City.

Eastern, Southern, and Central Africa Archaeological excavations at Shanga and Gedi (Kenya) and at Kilwa (Tanzania) reveal that urban development was indigenous, but 2nd millennium AD growth was fueled by Indian Ocean trade, which also introduced Islam. Coastal-interior trading networks exchanged precious materials and slaves. Swahili, a mixture of indigenous and foreign elements, developed as a trade language. Literate Islamic African elites ruled cities with trade enclaves, stone mosques, palaces, and tombs, exemplified at Husuni Kubwa (Tanzania).

On the Zimbabwe Plateau, good farmland and natural resources led to the development of states during the first half of the 2nd millennium AD. Rulers dwelt in "Zimbabwe" enclosures of dry-stone masonry, most famously at Great Zimbabwe.

By the mid-2nd millennium AD urbanization and state formation arrived in Central Africa. The 16th-century kingdom of Kongo (Angola) was later joined by the kingdoms of Bunyoro and Buganda (Uganda), Loango (Congo), Luba (Democratic Congo), and Ndorwa (Rwanda). Indigenous developments, they were spurred by control of production and trade.

Contact between Africa and the rest of the world was long and frequent, involving politics, trade, and immigration.

The Mediterranean, Southwest Asia, and the Red Sea Southwest Asian Sheep and goats spread through Africa by 2000 years ago, simultaneous with Asian zebu cattle and South Asian chickens. Southwest Asian domesticated wheat and barley arrived in northeastern Africa by about 5000 BC. Dynastic Egypt's origins were indigenous, but Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Arab interaction were important later factors.

The Indian Ocean Ceramics indicate 2000 years of East African contact, via the Indian Ocean, with the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, South Asia, and Indonesia. By the late 1st millennium AD, Arabs has sailed to East Africa and by the 15th century, Chinese ships appeared. New domesticates, trade goods, and the Islamic religion arrived, and Southeast Asians and Arabs settled in East Africa.

The Atlantic Coast Adverse Atlantic winds discouraged sea trade until the 15th century AD, after which contact expanded rapidly, and Western European economic ventures profoundly affected coastal Africa, joined, from the 17th century onwards, by American interests. The establishment of the trans-Atlantic and Arab East African slave trades had a devastating impact. Atlantic trade introduced useful American crops from the 16th century onwards. Christianity, new cultural concepts, alcohol, firearms, and European immigrants also came to Africa.

Box Features

Key controversy: Symbolism in southern African rock art
Key controversy: The domestication of cattle in the Sahara
Key controversy: The origins of African ironworking
Key controversy: How "African" was ancient Egypt?
Key controversy: What Factors Led to the Formation of African States?
Key discovery: New insights from the pyramids
Key site: Jenné-jeno: Origins of urbanism in West Africa
Key site: Great Zimbabwe
Key site: Igbo-Ukwu
Key discovery: The Enigma of Sorghum Domestication

Key words and terms Chapter 10

Geography and environment
large size
environmental diversity
below sea level to high mountains
high to freezing temperatures
rainfall from high to almost none
vegetation includes tropical rainforest, savanna, sub-desert steppe, desert, Mediterranean, and montane
climatic seasonality
long- and short-term climatic fluctuations
hot, dry season and cool, wet season
30 major climatic events over the last 14,000 years, both long and short
requires human adaptation and change
Upper (South) and Lower (North) Egypt

Concepts, ideas, theories
hunting and gathering
seasonal movement; aggregation, dispersal
trend towards sedentism
aquatic resource exploitation
wild grasses exploitation
transitions to herding and/or cultivation
resource competition, intergroup aggression
Sahara: adoption of domesticated animals
Nile valley: sudden importation of western Asian plants and animals
indigenous crops: sorghum, finger millet, panicum, West African rice, yams, oil palms, teff, noog, the false banana, ensete, coffee, chat; indigenous cattle, Sanga cattle
imported crops: barley, emmer wheat, flax, Asian yam, Asian rice, banana, sugarcane, coconut, and citrus fruits; Zebu cattle, sheep, goat, pig, dog, donkey, chicken
tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis prevented spread of pastoralism
Bantu expansion
flooding of the Nile
non-urban vs. urban theories of Egypt
Egyptian cities: administrative, cultic, craft production, military
Predynastic period competition for resources
pharaoh, pharaonic state
Egyptian system of writing earlier than Mesopotamia
extensive sea and desert trade routes
Indian Ocean, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Red Sea
coastal-interior trade
European exploration, 15th century AD onwards
American trade, 17th century onwards
Trans-Atlantic and Arab East African slave trades

composite tools
bow and arrow
Howieson's Poort industry
axes and hoes
Wilton stone industry
Oakhurst Complex
weighted digging-sticks
cave painting, engraving
Tshitolian industry
Capsian industry
Eburran industry
iron metallurgy
Egyptian hieroglyphs

Artifacts, features, structures
fishing, harpoons, canoe
early stone huts (Nile)
ground-stone axes
storage pits for grain
Kansyore pottery
Chifumbaze complex pottery
Urewe subgroup pottery
Kwale ware
Matola ware
Narmer Palette
Step Pyramid at Saqqara
pyramids at Giza
Khufu and Khafre (Cheops and Chefren)
three small pyramids for queens
pyramid of Snofru at Dahshur
Meroitic pyramids, hieroglyphs

Khoisan language family
Afroasiatic languages
Semitic languages

Cultures, traditions, phases, states
BaTwa (Pygmies)
A Group
Bantu-speaking peoples
Chifumbaze complex
Urewe subgroup
Nkope tradition
Gokomere/Ziwa tradition
Naqada I, II, and III
Predynastic period (4500 BC - 3100 BC)
Dynastic Egyptian state emerges c. 3100 BC
The Early Dynastic Period (1st, 2nd, and 3rd dynasties) 2950 to 2575 BC
The Old Kingdom (4th - 8th dynasties) 2575 to 2150 BC
First Intermediate Period ( 9th, 10th, 11th dynasties) 2125 to 1975 BC
The Middle Kingdom (late 11th - 14th dynasties) 1975-1640 BC
Second Intermediate Period (15th, 16th, 17th dynasties) 1640 to 1550 BC
The New Kingdom (18th, 19th, 20th, dynasties) 1520 - 1075 BC
Third Intermediate Period (21st - 25th dynasties) 1075 to 715 BC
The Late Period (late 25th - 30th dynasties) 715 to 332 BC.
Second Persian period
Greco-Roman period (332 BC-AD 395)
Meroitic state
Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite
Greek and Phoenician colonies, Cyrene and Carthage
Berber Numidian kingdoms of the Maghreb
Roman Imperial centers Timgad (Algeria) and Leptis Magna (Libya)
Islamic Kairouan (Tunisia) and al-Fustat (Egypt)
Mali, Songhai, Kanem, and Borno states
Yoruba Old Oyo state (Nigeria)
Yoruba Edo state (Nigeria)
Akan state (Ghana)
Kongo (Angola)
Bunyoro and Buganda (Uganda)
Loango (Congo)
Luba (Democratic Congo)
Ndorwa (Rwanda).

Mentuhotep (I or II)
Amenemhet I
Senwosret I
Senwosret III.
Thutmose I
Amenhotep II
Sety I
Ramesses II
Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten)
Marc Antony

Horus, the hawk god
Ra, the sun god
Osiris, god of dead, afterlife
Aten, the sun disc

Matupi Cave (Democratic Congo)
Klasies River Mouth (South Africa)
Melkhoutboom Cave (South Africa)
Gwisho Hot Springs (Zambia)
Apollo 11 Cave (Namibia)
Wonderwerk Cave (South Africa)
Wadi Kubbaniya (Egypt)
Qadan sites (Egypt)
Jebel Sahaba (Egypt)
Kom Ombo plain sites (Egypt)
Catfish Cave (Egypt)
Early Khartoum (Egypt)
Columnata (Algeria)
Kharga Oasis (Sahara)
Dakhleh Oasis (Sahara)
Dufuna (Nigeria)
Lake Turkana (Kenya)
Lowasera, Lothagam, Lopoy (Lake Turkana, Kenya)
Ishango (Lake Edward, Democratic Congo)
Lukenya Hill, (Kenya)
Kenyan Rift Valley sites
Iwo Eleru rockshelter (Nigeria)
Shum Laka rockshelter (Cameroon)
Nabta Playa (Egypt)
Enneri Bardagué (Chad)
Uan Muhuggiag (Libya)
Grotte Capeletti (Algeria)
Adrar Bous (Niger)
Dhar Tichitt (Mauritania)
Zinchecra (Libya)
Merimde (Egypt)
Fayum Depression (Egypt)
Esh Shaheinab (Sudan)
Kadero (Sudan)
Jebel et Tomat (Sudan)
Qasr Ibrim (Egypt)
Karkarichinkat (Mali)
Gajiganna and Daima (Nigeria)
Birimi (Ghana)
Ti-n-Akof (Burkina Faso)
Kursakata (Nigeria)
Jenné-jeno (Mali)
Kintampo sites (Ghana)
Iwo Eleru (Nigeria)
Nkang (Cameroon)
Asa Koma (Djibouti)
Laga Oda and Lake Besaka (Ethiopia)
Lalibela Cave (Ethiopia)
Quiha (Ethiopia)
Dongodien (Kenya)
Enkapune Ya Muto (Kenya)
Njoro River Cave (Kenya)
Gogo Falls (Kenya)
Do Dimi (Niger)
Taruga (Nigeria)
Kemondo Bay (Tanzania)
Meroë (Sudan)
Kapwirimbwe (Zambia)
Toutswe sites (Botswana)
Silver Leaves (South Africa)
Broederstroom (South Africa)
Lydenburg (South Africa)
Die Kelders (South Africa)
Bambata Cave (South Africa)
Hierakonpolis (Egypt)
Koptos (Egypt)
Naqada (Egypt)
Abydos (Egypt)
Kahun (Egypt)
Memphis (Egypt)
Thebes (Egypt)
Valley of the Kings (Egypt)
Amarna (Akhetaten) (Egypt)
Kerma (Nubia/Egypt)
Napata (Nubia/Egypt)
Meroë (Nubia/Egypt)
El Kurru and Nuri (Nubia/Egypt)
Jebel Barkal (Nubia/Egypt)
Sanam (Nubia/Egypt)
Aksum (Ethiopia)
Adulis (Ethiopia)
Jenné-jeno (Mali)
Dakhlet el Atrous (Mauritania)
Tegdaoust, Timbuktu, Gao, Kano, Birnin Gazargamo
Begho (Ghana)
Ife and Benin City (Nigeria)
Shanga and Gedi (Kenya)
Kilwa (Tanzania)
Husuni Kubwa (Tanzania)
Great Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)
Ras Hafun (Somalia)
Debra Damo (Ethiopia)
Unguja Ukuu (Zanzibar)
Chibuene (Mozambique)
Bambandyanalo and Mapungubwe (Limpopo Valley)
Majâbat Al-Koubrâ (Sahara)

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