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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Post-glacial conditions probably contributed to the extinction of large mammals in southern Africa. In the Sahara, high lake levels of the early Holocene allowed aquatic resource exploitation and the control of wild sheep by ceramic microlithic-using hunters. There is also debate on whether these people independently domesticated cattle. By 7500 BP cattle and small stock expanded across the Sahara, but with increasing aridity c.4000 BP, southward movement of tsetse belts permitted expansion of domestic animals to west and east Africa, eventually reaching southern Africa by 2000 BP. Expansion of agricultural economies, called ‘Iron Age’, in east and southern Africa ultimately led to the development of more complex societies in the second millennium AD, with concomitant displacement or incorporation of hunters. Hunting and herding societies in both north and southern Africa have produced some of the world’s finest rock art.

Keywords: lake levels, mammal extinctions, ceramics, domestic animals, hunter-gatherers, complex societies, rock art

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