Namib
Title Details

546 Pages

21.6 x 13.8 cm

88 b/w, 120 line illus.

Imprint: James Currey

Namib

The archaeology of an African desert

by John Kinahan

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The first full-length examination of the archaeology and history of the Namib Desert.

This is a story of human survival over the last one million years in the Namib Desert - one of the most hostile environments on Earth. Namib reveals the resilience and ingenuity of desert communities and provides a vivid picture of our species' response to climate change, and ancient strategies to counter ever-present risk. Dusty fragments of stone, pottery and bone tell a history of perpetual transition, of shifting and temporary states of balance. Namib digs beneath the usual evidence of archaeology to uncover a world of arcane rituals, of travelling rain-makers, of intricate social networks which maintained vital systems of negotiated access to scarce resources. Ranging from the earliest evidence of human occupation, through colonial rule and genocide, to the invasion of the desert by South African troops during the First World War, this is the first comprehensive archaeology of the Namib. Among its important contributions are the reclaiming of the indigenous perspective during the brutal colonial occupation, and establishing new material links between the imperialist project in German South West Africa during 1885-1915 and the Third Reich, and between Nazi ideology and Apartheid.
Southern Africa: University of Namibia Press/Jacana
1. INTRODUCTION: A radical new approach
2. FIRST FOOTSTEPS: Early human ancestors
3. TIMES ARROW: Desert survival strategies
4. MOUNTAIN REFUGE: Isolated refugia & ritual practice
5. ELEPHANTS AND RAIN: Rain-making and initiation
6. DESERT GARDEN: Pottery & tending desert food plants
7. THE FAMILY HERD: Ovahimba desert pastoralists
8. THE BLACK SWAN: Indigenous views on colonial penetration
9. MEN IN HATS: Missionaries, traders, prospectors, hunters
10. THE DEATH OF MEMORY: Lifting the veil on colonial Genocide
EPILOGUE: Critical reappraisal: desert as natural wilderness or - the familiar home of people now banished?

JOHN KINAHAN is an independent Namibian scholar, Adjunct Professor of Archaeology at Arizona State University and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand. His research on the archaeology of the Namib has been widely published internationally.

"The book ... is informed by an imaginative and reasoned evocation of pre-history and a close reading of the written record. The author maintains a remarkable balance between close focus and humane vision in his ability to sustain "a story of human survival over the last one million years in one of the most hostile environments on earth"." Tony Voss, African Studies Quarterly
"This book represents a near-lifetime of detailed research .... [it] represents a major contribution to our knowledge of the Deep History of one of the great deserts of the Southern Hemisphere." Peter Veth, Canadian Journal of African Studies
"Namib is an archaeological page-turner. John Kinahan's writing clearly shows a deep knowledge and mastery of his subject born from many decades of tireless and meticulous research in what is a truly massive study area. Not overly technical, it will appeal to professional archaeologists and non-specialists alike." Jason Orton, Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
"Namib is exceptionally well-written. Those who are not archaeological initiates will welcome the opportunity to get an insight into the craft of the archaeologist and appreciate the requisite for presenting well-researched and analysed evidence." Eckhard Schleberger, Journal of Namibian Studies

Hardcover

9781847012883

January 2022

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£75.00 / $115.00

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Title Details

546 Pages

2.16 x 1.38 cm

88 b/w, 120 line illus.

Imprint: James Currey