shelona klatzow on sotho and san in a cave on the caledon
Shelona Klatzow, ‘Interaction between Hunter-Gatherers and Bantu-Speaking Farmers in the Eastern Free State: A Case Study from De Hoop Cave’, South African Historical Journal 62, 2 2010, pp. 229 – 251
De Hoop is a large cave, located on the western slopes of the Platberg mountain, in the eastern Free State. The excavated archaeological sequence dates back to more than three and a half thousand years with a hiatus in occupation between the older levels and the re-occupation of the cave in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The nineteenth-century levels display a change in material culture from a post-classic Wilton assemblage, which is associated with hunter-gatherers, to one that includes Sotho ceramics and other farmer items, as well as a few European artefacts. The historical accounts of Stow, Norton, Casalis, Arbousset and Daumas, and Kirby suggest that the social and political processes which took place in this area during the tumultuous nineteenth century were complex. De Hoop Cave is situated in the middle of this contested area. By examining both the archaeological sequence from De Hoop and the available oral histories and missionary accounts, issues of interaction and the social dislocations and realignments that characterised this period are considered. Based on the aforesaid, I propose that Sotho farmers were living in this cave with San hunter-gatherers for a period during one of the many conflict situations that characterised the Caledon Valley in the nineteenth century.
Keywords: De Hoop Cave; hunter-gatherers; Bantu-speaking farmers; interaction
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