Monday, April 16, 2012

Incipient Domestication on the Nile

The Addax

Excerpts from "Foraging and Farming in Egypt" by Wilma Wetterstrom from The Archaeology of Africa edited by Thurston Shaw, Paul Sinclair, Bassey Andah and Alex Okpoko (Link)

   "Clark (1971, pp. 55-64) has suggested that a form of incipient animal domestication was practised during the Epipalaeolithic, which involved capturing wild animals and taming, feeding and fattening them for eventual slaughter.  Some of these practices seem to have been depicted on predynastic rock engravings in Upper Egypt and more extensively in Middle Kingdom tombs.  Tomb paintings indicate that a great variety of animals were subjected to this process, including two types of gazelle, ibex, deer, oryx, addax, cattle, hyaena, small game and birds.  Clark (1971, p. 57) suggests that these practices go far back beyond the Predynastic and came about in order to supply a growing population with meat."

   "Wendorf & Schild (1984a. p. 422) proposed that the Nile valley may have been an independent centre for cattle domestication, although no faunal evidence of early domestic Bos has been found.  They point out, however, that evidence may be lacking because of the paucity of faunal material in the Nile valley and the possibility that wild cattle were hunted, while the early domestic forms were kept mainly for milk and blood."


Clark, J. D. 1971.  A re-examination of the evidence for agricultural origins in the Nile valley.  Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 37, 34-79.

Wendorf, F. & R. Schild 1984a. Conclusions. In Cattle-keepers of the Eastern Sahara: the Neolithic of Bir Kiseiba, Wendorf, F., R. Schild & A. E. Close (eds), 404-28. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press.

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