In sub-Saharan West Africa, substantial archaeological evidence only appears from about 2000 bc. From that time onwards, sites with large proportions of fish-bones and large numbers of fish taxa, including open-water fish, are known. Deep-water fishing requires a well-developed fishing technology. Links have been made between the sites and modern, specialized fishers. However, because of the high component of crops in the diets of modern fishers, the recent levels of specialization were probably only possible with the appearance of fully fledged farming around the beginning of the current era. The exploitation of aquatic resources in Holocene West Africa is discussed, mainly based on archaeozoological evidence from the Lake Chad area. The methodology used, especially regarding quantification, is also presented.
Identifications of animal remains from southern African Stone Age sites are complicated by the abundancy of taxa, skeletal differences, a wide variety of habitats, and the fragmented condition of most of the bone samples. Studies in osteomorphology and osteometry are essential. There are regional variations in species sizes combined with changes in bone sizes within and between taxa. Seasonality and animal migrations are demonstrated in the highlands of Lesotho and the semi-arid Karoo. Faunal studies of Sibudu and Bushman Rock Shelter show the contrast between two rock shelters that are geographically separated but overlap in occupation periods.
The Iron Age of southern Africa covers the spread and occupation of Bantu-speaking farmers during the last 1,500 years. Archaeological research of these farmers was heavily influenced by the Central Cattle Pattern, a settlement model which, as one of its main concepts, argued that cattle were the most important domestic animal since the first farmers settled in southern Africa during the first millennium ad. Various arguments have been presented to support this view, including the presence of cattle dung, cattle herd sizes, informants and ethnography, and weights of livestock, as well as ageing and skeletal part data. These arguments have been challenged recently, and new interpretations offered. New interpretations unrestricted by the Central Cattle Pattern have focused on descent patterns of farmers. Changes in identification methodology and measures of changes of livestock over time have played a major role in these new interpretations.