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VIRTUAL - Osteobiographies of Past Foragers: Reconstructing the Lives of Ancestral Khoe-San communities, South Africa
March 24, 2021 @ 6:00 pm EDT Eastern Time
This is an online event.
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
AIA Society: Central and Western Michigan
Lecturer: Susan Pfeiffer
Human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts can generate unique insights into the past. Human remains can form the basis for tests of evolutionary hypotheses and can provide descendants with stories about their ancestors’ lives. This talk will summarize results from several decades’ research into the ancestors of the Khoe-San people of southern Africa, who have lived in the region for over 100,000 years. They are genetically distinctive and have distinguishing physical features. Their lives as mobile hunter-gatherers left little evidence on the landscape, save for their burials. Research has led to insights into habitual behaviors, diet, child growth and population size. Focusing mainly on coastal communities, the focus will be on the value and pitfalls of reliance on ethnographic information about the descendants, and on interpreting unique patterns from archaeological evidence. Ancient interpersonal violence, limited in time and space, is especially challenging to interpret and explain.