Advent and Course of Pastoralism in the Kalahari

Science  19 Dec 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4783, pp. 1509-1515
DOI: 10.1126/science.234.4783.1509


It has long been thought that farming and herding were comparatively recent introductions into the Kalahari and that it has been a preserve of foraging "Bushmen" for thousands of years. Agropastoral Bantu-speakers were thought to have entered this region only within the last two centuries. However, fully developed pastoralism and metallurgy are now shown to have been established in the Kalahari from A.D. 500, with extensive grain agriculture and intracontinental trade added by A.D. 800. Archeological, linguistic, and historical evidence delineates the continuation of mixed economies in the region into the present. Consequences of this revised view for anthropological theory and for policy planning concerning contemporary Kalahari peoples are indicated.