Casting foragers into a new mould? The case of the Mafunyane Shelter, eastern Botswana

17 Aug 2015

The final two millennia of southern Africa’s Later Stone Age saw considerable shifts in subsistence, settlement and production patterns. Much of these changes coincided with the arrival of agriculturalists bringing crops, livestock and metals (Mitchell 2002). The nature of these changes, however, varied across the region and hence not all Later Stone Age features are found at any individual site, thereby requiring archaeologists to undertake regional studies. As a result of one such study, an intriguing discovery was made in eastern Botswana (Figure 1) at Mafunyane Shelter (Figures 2 & 3). Walker (1994), who originally excavated the site, identified an early first-millennium AD Later Stone Age occupation, as well as activity by metalworking people. The present article reports the results of a recent excavation intended to explore the potential relationship between the Later Stone Age occupants and the metalworkers at this site.