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date: 25 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The character of historical archaeology in South Africa has been cast by the geography of its development and the historical roots of its subject matter. Arising in the south-western Cape, where Europeans collided with the nomadic Khoe and Bushmen, research agendas meshed with broader sub-disciplinary goals for a global, comparative archaeology of the last 500 years. In practice, this led to a focus on sites associated with European colonists. Investigations issuing from the ‘other side’ of these encounters were rare. In this chapter we acknowledge the important precedents set by pioneer researchers and explore how historical archaeologies in the interior offer new directions. Here encroaching colonists met established farming groups, encounters that set in motion complex and historically situated long-term entanglements. Recent and developing research in these areas signals a growing maturity within the field, enhanced by increasing collaboration among archaeologists of different sub-disciplinary persuasions, and between archaeologists and historians.

Keywords: South Africa, colonial encounters, identities, migrations, trade

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