On Thursday, the 2nd of June, Faye Lander, a Wits doctoral student (archaeology) will be giving a lecture at Roedean. ‘The bees are our sheep’: the transition to livestock keeping during the last two thousand years in southernmost Africa.
A model is suggested showing how some foragers may have become stock-keepers in the past. Forager bee-keepers stay in one place, and cultivate a storable and exchangeable product, honey. This desired product has been used by the Okiek forager bee-keepers of Kenya to obtain livestock from their pastoralist/agropastoralist neighbours. It is believed that amongst foragers such as these the transition to livestock keeping would not have been as difficult as is sometimes postulated. Parallels between sheep, bees, their products and their keeping, which are informative to the debate, will be described. The difficulty for archaeologists is that the archaeology of bee-keeping is largely invisible. There are exceptions, interactions between foragers and bees are painted in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains, KwaZulu-Natal. Here too, are paintings of sheep that are considered to be old and represent how foragers may have thought of sheep during first encounters.
Faye Lander’s research interests include the rock art of southern Africa, the transition to livestock-keeping and human-animal relations. She completed her masters in 2014 with a thesis titled, ‘An investigation into the painted sheep imagery of the northern uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’. She is currently looking at the movement of the agriculturists into southern Africa and forager responses to this spread as part of her doctoral degree in Archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Date: Thursday 2 June Time: 20:00
Venue: The auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg
Members free Non-members R30