Of Shells and Men:
the Economy of Coastal Populations on the Bay
of Luanda (Angola) Throughout the Last Two Millenia
Nicolas VALDEYRON, Sonia Ludmila DA SILVA DOMINGOS
In this paper, we present archaeological and ethnographic observations of several shell middens located near the Luanda lagoon in Angola, focusing on the evolution of the use of one mollusk, Arca senelis L., over the past two millennia. Known in the literature, the site of Cabolombo has been the subject of recent research (test pit 1) that supports the hypothesis that the site was first occupied by shellfish collectors, probably of the Bantu tradition. The sites of Kamabanga and Kitala suggest the existence of populations, between the 8th and 14th centuries, that were still collectors but who also took part in regional exchange networks. They may also have been specialized in the production of discs from shell test that could have been used as coins during the formative period of the Kingdom of Kongo. Test pits 4 and 14 at Cabolombo yielded indications of a colonial context (locally manufactured pipes) in an economic environment still oriented toward predatory activities. Test pit 9, on the other hand, revealed the use of mabangas as the raw material for lime production, probably under strict control by the Portuguese. Finally, though the major stages in the history of the peopling of the region can be reconstructed through archaeological research and though oral enquiries document the formation processes of the sites, the socio-economic and cultural status of the populations remains unclear.
To cite this article
Valdeyron N., da Silva Domingos S. L., 2012 – Of Shells and Men: the Economy of Coastal Populations on the Bay of Luanda (Angola) Throughout the Last Two Millenia, in F.-X. Fauvelle-Aymar, Palethnology of Africa, P@lethnology, 4, 111-140.
Guanaco Hunting among the Selk’nam
of Tierra del Fuego:
Poor Traceability of Temporary Halt
and Versatility of the Kill Site
At the extremity of the south-American continent, Tierra del Fuego was occupied during the whole of the Holocene by hunter-gatherers whose survival was based on the exploitation of a camelid that was never domesticated: the guanaco. The way of life of these foragers is known through travellers and ethnologists who observed them towards the end of the 19th century and during the first decades of the 20th century, shortly before their extinction. Guanaco hunting was the main and practically daily activity of this population, and it is frequently mentioned in these writings. Several tactics seem to have been used. But whether the hunt was individual or collective, the main concern of the hunter was generally to return each evening to the hut; in this way halts were reduced to a strict minimum. Only the halt at the end of the hunt seems to have had a real significance, but it could take on a number of profiles – kill site, butchery site (of several types), bivouac, etc. – when it did not transform into a new residential camp. In addition, the absence of means of storage made mass killing unnecessary, and these sites are therefore more difficult to identify than those of the collector groups.
To cite this article
Legoupil D., 2011 – Guanaco Hunting among the Selk’nam of Tierra del Fuego: Poor Traceability of Temporary Halt and Versatility of the Kill Site, in Bon F., Costamagno S., Valdeyron N. (eds.), Hunting Camps in Prehistory. Current Archaeological Approaches, Proceedings of the International Symposium, May 13-15 2009, University Toulouse II – Le Mirail, P@lethnology, 3, 21-40.