Early Holocene foragers in North Africa provide unique responses to adaptational patterns of non-agricultural societies and they can offer intriguing answers to questions regarding relationships between sedentism, economy and sociocultural complexity. Three points are of major relevance for the understanding of late foragers in North Africa: first, fishing, sustained by reduced mobility, was a common practise at sites located along perennial rivers, such as the Nile, or seasonal watercourses (locally called wadis); second, the successive shift to a food producing economy implied the acquisition of nomadic pastoralism; third, agriculture has never been a feasible economic practise in desert and peridesert environments. The practise of fishing and the scarsity of moist lands away from watercourses encouraged more permanent settlement of sites by the water, which offered nutritional resources to plants, animals, as well as humans. The combination of these economic adjustments and environmental conditions favoured social organisations based on continual occupations of semi-permanent settlements involving a population increase, which – in turn – triggered the rise of sociocultural complexity and new technological productions, such as pottery and groundstone, before the adoption of any form of food production. This paper presents the socioeconomic dynamics of Early Holocene foragers in North Africa and offers examples from the Central Sahara and the Upper Nile Valley, where the author has conducted research for almost two decades.

Semi-permanent foragers in semi-arid environments of North Africa

GARCEA, Elena Antonella Alda
2006

Abstract

Early Holocene foragers in North Africa provide unique responses to adaptational patterns of non-agricultural societies and they can offer intriguing answers to questions regarding relationships between sedentism, economy and sociocultural complexity. Three points are of major relevance for the understanding of late foragers in North Africa: first, fishing, sustained by reduced mobility, was a common practise at sites located along perennial rivers, such as the Nile, or seasonal watercourses (locally called wadis); second, the successive shift to a food producing economy implied the acquisition of nomadic pastoralism; third, agriculture has never been a feasible economic practise in desert and peridesert environments. The practise of fishing and the scarsity of moist lands away from watercourses encouraged more permanent settlement of sites by the water, which offered nutritional resources to plants, animals, as well as humans. The combination of these economic adjustments and environmental conditions favoured social organisations based on continual occupations of semi-permanent settlements involving a population increase, which – in turn – triggered the rise of sociocultural complexity and new technological productions, such as pottery and groundstone, before the adoption of any form of food production. This paper presents the socioeconomic dynamics of Early Holocene foragers in North Africa and offers examples from the Central Sahara and the Upper Nile Valley, where the author has conducted research for almost two decades.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11580/8287
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