Responsable: Frank Muyard

École française d'Extrême-Orient
Institute of History and Philology
Academia Sinica, Nankang 11529
Tel: +886 2 2652 3177 / 2782 9555 #275
Fax: +886 2 2785 2035

Seminar: Florent Détroit
22 MAY 18
Speaker: Prof. Florent Détroit (Associate Professor, National Museum of Natural Hiistory, Paris)

Title: The “Invisible Neolithic Transition”: Later Stone Age Hunter-gatherers and Early Pastoralists in the Erongo Mountains, Namibia

Date: Tuesday, May 22 2018. 12:30 p.m.
Venue: Room 201, Department of Anthropology, National Taiwan University

The site of Leopard Cave (Erongo, Namibia), excavated since 2007 in the
frame of a French-Namibian collaboration, yielded the earliest directly
dated caprine remains known so far from southern Africa (ca. 2200-2300
cal BP; see Pleurdeau et al., 2012), although recent proteomic analyses
potentially indicate a more complex situation. Additionally, the
archaeological assemblages (abundant lithics, faunal remains, charcoals,
and very few small potsherds) recovered from the site do not indicate
the presence of a full “Neolithic package”, calling for a very cautious
approach of the so-called “Neolithic transition” in this region of the
world. Besides elements related to past subsistence strategies, the
excavations conducted in Leopard Cave yielded very significant evidences
related to symbolic behaviors. This includes several “toolkits” for
pigments processing, which can tentatively be related to the figurative
rockart that is still visible on the wall of the shelter and is
incredibly abundant in the region. In 2012 and 2014, human remains
directly dated to ca. 6500-6700 years cal BP were also discovered in
front of the shelter. This small assemblage of human bones present very
peculiar characteristics, among which series of breaking, cutting and
burning marks. The study of those anthropogenic modifications allows to
reconstruct a mortuary chaine opératoire which was previously totally
unknown for the Southern African Later Stone Age. Because of the
scarcity of human remains of this antiquity in Namibia – and in Southern
Africa in general - and because of the singular mortuary practices they
document, they are of primary interest in documenting the biological
(and cultural) identity of hunter-gatherer groups present in the region
during this chronological time period.

Organizers :
- EFEO Taipei Center
- Department of Anthropology, National Taiwan University

The conference will be given in English.

With the support of the French Office in Taipei (BFT).