Namib: The archaeology of an African Desert by J. Kinahan
Wits University Press, 21 September 2021
Paperback, 517 pages
This is a story of human survival over the last one million years in the Namib Desert – one of the most hostile environments on Earth.
The resilience and ingenuity of desert communities provides a vivid picture of our species’ response to climate change, and ancient strategies to counter ever-present risk. Dusty fragments of stone, pottery and bone tell a history of perpetual transition, of shifting and temporary states of balance.
Namib digs beneath the usual evidence of archaeology to uncover a world of arcane rituals, of travelling rain-makers, and of intricate social networks which maintained vital systems of negotiated access to scarce resources. It covers a million years of human history in the Namib Desert, including the Earlier, Middle and Later Stone Ages, colonial occupation and genocide, to the invasion of the desert by South African troops during World War I.
This is more than a work of scientific research; it is a love-song to the desert and its people.