Out of the Wild: Domestication and Socioeconomic Diversity in Africa


The reason for the beginnings and spread of food production during the early Holocene in so many parts of the world is one of the most interesting questions in archaeology. It now seems likely that there are many different pathways to domestication. In Africa, there is a record of up to several million years of human existence as hunter-gatherers before some human populations adopted food production. Domestication of plants and animals about 10,000 years ago resulted in fundamental changes in human societies. It provided the basis for the increase in settlement densities, specialization and social stratification, and general decrease in mobility and dietary diversity, characteristic of non-hunter-gatherer societies in the modern world. In this seminar, the class will explore the phenomenon of domestication, and the spread of food production, surveying the evidence for manipulation and domestication of plant and animal species by prehistoric peoples in Africa. We will focus on how and why domestication occurred, and factors that influenced its spread, and interactions between late hunter-gatherers and early pastoralists, and intersections with complex societies of the Nile. We will also look at the contributions of Africa to understanding pathways to food production world wide.
Course Attributes: EN S; AS LCD; AS SSC; AS WI I; FA SSC; AR SSC

Section 01

Out of the Wild: Domestication and Socioeconomic Diversity in Africa
INSTRUCTOR: Woldekiros
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