A Dictionary of Archaeology by Ian Shaw

By Ian Shaw

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Some believe this new lifestyle emerged as the result of the diffusion of individual traits, but the archaeological evidence does not support this interpretation. As Robinson’s excavations at MABVENI in Zimbabwe first showed in the 1960s, the diagnostic features occur together. Although there are pitfalls, archaeologists use ceramic styles in Central and Southern Africa to trace the origins and movements of Iron Age people. David Phillipson’s Chifumbadze classification, somewhat modified by Thomas Huffman, identifies three principal divisions and therefore ‘streams’ of movement: (1) the UREWE Tradition, which contains firstly a KWALE Branch, including SILVER LEAVES/MATOLA in southern Africa and secondly an Nkope Branch, including Ziwa and Gokomere in Zimbabwe, and Kamnama and Kumadzulo (or the Dambwe group) in Zambia; (2) the Kalundu Tradition, which includes Benfica in Angola, KAPWIRIMBWE and Kulundu in Zambia, Sinoia in Zimbabwe and Matakoma, BROEDERSTROOM, Lydenburg and Msuluzi in South Africa.

Surface water is rare over the subcontinent’s western half and much of Botswana and Namibia lack permanent rivers. Defining these drainage systems, the most important topographic feature is the Great Escarpment, of which the Drakensberg and the highlands of eastern Zimbabwe are the most prominent components, while the Cape Fold Belt is a further mountain range lying between the Escarpment and the southwestern coastline of South Africa. Running around all but the northern margin of the subcontinent, which is defined by the watershed between the Zambezi/Cunene rivers and those of the Congo Basin, it separates the lowerlying lands towards the coast from a higher interior plateau that trends gradually away towards the northwest, where it is occupied by the Kalahari; a southerly extension of the Rift Valley system is represented most obviously by Lake Malawi.

Areas of cool high grasslands AFRICA nd Nya Deloraine o R. Hyrax Hill Lanet Lake Njoro River Cave Nakuru Prolonged Drift Nderit Kariandusi Lake Elmenteita Gamble’s Cave Mount Eburru 40 km Lake Naivasha East Turkana L Lothagam A Magosi Lowasera Lake Turkana I 0 A Lake Albert A N D A i O G S U M Kibiro r Mubende Hill K i Bigo Urewe N Y A w Rusinga Mogadishu and Hafun (Opone) a Lake Lake Edward Nsongezi E k Ntusi Ishango S Z A I R E Chemagel Gogo Falls Victoria Katuruka Nyanza Bweranyange Bur Gavo Ngamuriak Kansyore Narosura Olorgesailie RWANDA Shanga Apis Rock Kabuye Nyarunazi Olduvai BURUNDI Manda Engaruka Gedi Mombasa Kwale Kolo Uvinza ny Lake Tan g a T A N Z A N I A Mtambe Mkuu Ras Mkumbuu PEMBA ZANZIBAR Unguja Ukuu ika INDIAN OCEAN Ivuna Kondoa Z 0 A M B I Isimila A 400 km Map 3 Africa, 3: East Major prehistoric sites in the region.

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