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Primordialism and the ‘Pleistocene San’ of southern Africa

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Analogies are an important tool of archaeological reasoning. The Kalahari San are frequently depicted in introductory texts as archetypal, mobile hunter-gatherers, and they have influenced approaches to archaeological, genetic and linguistic research. But is this analogy fundamentally flawed? Recent arguments have linked the San populations of southern Africa with the late Pleistocene Later Stone Age (c. 44 kya) at Border Cave, South Africa. The authors argue that these and other claims for the Pleistocene antiquity of modern-day cultures arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of cultural and archaeological taxonomies, and that they are a misuse of analogical reasoning.

UOW Authors


  •   Pargeter, Justin (external author)
  •   Mackay, Alex C.
  •   Mitchell, Peter (external author)
  •   Shea, John (external author)
  •   Stewart, Brian A. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Pargeter, J., Mackay, A., Mitchell, P., Shea, J. & Stewart, B. A. (2016). Primordialism and the ‘Pleistocene San’ of southern Africa. Antiquity, 90 (352), 1072-1079.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84978946306

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/4148

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 7

Start Page


  • 1072

End Page


  • 1079

Volume


  • 90

Issue


  • 352

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • Analogies are an important tool of archaeological reasoning. The Kalahari San are frequently depicted in introductory texts as archetypal, mobile hunter-gatherers, and they have influenced approaches to archaeological, genetic and linguistic research. But is this analogy fundamentally flawed? Recent arguments have linked the San populations of southern Africa with the late Pleistocene Later Stone Age (c. 44 kya) at Border Cave, South Africa. The authors argue that these and other claims for the Pleistocene antiquity of modern-day cultures arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of cultural and archaeological taxonomies, and that they are a misuse of analogical reasoning.

UOW Authors


  •   Pargeter, Justin (external author)
  •   Mackay, Alex C.
  •   Mitchell, Peter (external author)
  •   Shea, John (external author)
  •   Stewart, Brian A. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Pargeter, J., Mackay, A., Mitchell, P., Shea, J. & Stewart, B. A. (2016). Primordialism and the ‘Pleistocene San’ of southern Africa. Antiquity, 90 (352), 1072-1079.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84978946306

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/4148

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 7

Start Page


  • 1072

End Page


  • 1079

Volume


  • 90

Issue


  • 352

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom