Two Millennia of African Farmscapes, Food Production and Consumption in Northeastern South Africa (short title: South African Farmscapes & Food)
Partecipanti al progetto
Descrizione del progetto
The Bokoni Urban Farmscapes project pioneered research into pre-colonial South African terrace farming. Our project will expand the temporal scope of research to the last 2000 years. The expansion of the scope into the deeper, and more recent past, as well as the innovative project methodology, will allow the team to produce new data and expand knowledge about pre-colonial African farming, livestock and crops, as well as the curation of this Indigenous Knowledge. This region is an ideal location in which to study long term African food systems, because it yielded the earliest direct evidence for crop farming in South Africa. In addition, it has significant evidence for occupation by Early Farming Communities during the first millennium CE, and it is the only region in South Africa with a clear archaeological footprint for intensive farming, and some farmers continued to use terrace farming methods in the historical period. We will work with these farmers to gain insights into their use of Indigenous Knowledge. In addition, we will use geoarchaeological methods to understand the soil and environmental contexts in which farming took place. Farming is constrained by various environmental factors, and could cause significant disturbances of the vegetation and soils. Hence the project will examine landscape scale vegetation continuities and change through the study of pollen and phytoliths in six wetland cores. Direct evidence for livestock in the region is more recent than the evidence for crops, but geometric art in the region (Maseko 2021) might be related to the earlier spread of pastoralists mooted by B. Smith and Ouzman (2004). A site with geometric art will be excavated to investigate this possibility. We will also expand the application of Organic Residue Analysis and proteomics to pottery residues to more sites. This will be supplemented by ZooMS on faunal remains, which will provide taxonomic identification on otherwise undiagnostic faunal remains.