Cattle remains in some pre- and protohistoric societies of the Central Cattle Pattern in southern Africa


en Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 747-752

Published on 01 June 1998

This article is a part of the thematic issue Proceedings of the 7th ICAZ International Meeting, Constance, September 1994

Cattle are important in the social and ritual life of traditional Bantu-speaking people of southern Africa, in a system known as the Central Cattle Pattern. The Late Iron Age people were ancestral to the modern Bantu-speaking people and had similar social structures. Cattle bones, byres and other structures associated with the Central Cattle Pattern are common finds. The association between Early Iron Age communities and cattle is less clear, but it is possible that the Central Cattle Pattern already existed in some form. Bosutswe was occupied from 700 AD to after 1450 AD. For most of its history domesticates were important. At uMgungundlovu almost al! faunal remains are cattle, but at Randjies ( 17th-18th centuries) domesticates were scarce. The differences in cattle samples from the sites can be linked to social and environmental factors. Nevertheless it can be demonstrated, that all three sites were operating within the Central Cattle Pattern.


Southern Africa, Iron Age, cattle, Tsetse, Central Cattle Pattern

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