Precolonial Agricultural Terracing in Bokoni, South Africa: Typology and an Exploratory Excavation

Precolonial Agricultural Terracing in Bokoni, South Africa: Typology and an Exploratory Excavation Earlier work on the terraced settlements of the Bokoni area (16 th to 19 th century, Mpumalanga province, South Africa) focussed on the homesteads, their contents, layout and chronology. This paper suggests a terminology and typology of agrarian structures in Bokoni in order to improve comparative approaches in Africa and beyond. The typology and an excavation of the terracing permit possible preliminary conclusions relevant for the further analysis of the terracing and stone-walling in Bokoni. The terracing developed incrementally, whereby cultivation, stone-clearing and terracing were intermixed processes. This is supported both by the organic content in a section of a terrace and by a phytolith analysis. The phytolith analysis furthermore indicated that maize was cultivated on the terraces, but this should be seen as a pilot study only, and presence of maize in Bokoni must be tested with other archaeobotanical methods. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

Precolonial Agricultural Terracing in Bokoni, South Africa: Typology and an Exploratory Excavation

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© Copyright 2016 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
D.O.I.
10.3213/2191-5784-10281
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Earlier work on the terraced settlements of the Bokoni area (16 th to 19 th century, Mpumalanga province, South Africa) focussed on the homesteads, their contents, layout and chronology. This paper suggests a terminology and typology of agrarian structures in Bokoni in order to improve comparative approaches in Africa and beyond. The typology and an excavation of the terracing permit possible preliminary conclusions relevant for the further analysis of the terracing and stone-walling in Bokoni. The terracing developed incrementally, whereby cultivation, stone-clearing and terracing were intermixed processes. This is supported both by the organic content in a section of a terrace and by a phytolith analysis. The phytolith analysis furthermore indicated that maize was cultivated on the terraces, but this should be seen as a pilot study only, and presence of maize in Bokoni must be tested with other archaeobotanical methods.

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Nov 1, 2016

Keywords: terracing; farming; landesque capital; South Africa; phytoliths; maize

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