This series was distinguished by the editorial inclusion of African historians who produced new paradigms for the study of African historiography. Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century. Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century.
Trade Tales and Tiny Trails: Paths lined with stones taken from those archaeological walls have been kicked out of alignment by grazing cattle or scampering kudus. Less than ten years earlier, large stone circles led to a dancing floor in front of a collapsing wooden structure, which housed purification basins.
Thirty meters beyond these basins, at the base of a man-made cave christened by a sacrificed snake, sits a clay-lined basin, still filled with blue-and-white Indian ocean trade 600 1750 glass beads. Although these beads are modern, they have ancient echoes that extend nearly 1, years ago in the past.
Glass beads, more than any other type of artifact, help us make sense of the last years of Kalahari history. Glass beads help link the archaeologist to a time and a place beyond ancient texts and oral histories, when this part of Africa—thousands of miles from the Indian Ocean—traded with the Middle East, India, Indonesia, and China.
This is a story about the tiny trails of history the beads have left us. In the past as well as in the present, these beads have played a social role in how people connect themselves to one another and their ancestors. I first held these glass beads inas a graduate student working on these prehistoric, pre-European African cities and kingdoms.
Looking at these tiny artifacts, I struggled to control my breathing, terrified of blowing them out of my hand back into the Kalahari dirt. These colorful glass seed beads, many of which can hardly fit in the edge of a pin, traveled a long, long way to get to the Kalahari.
Carla Klehm, From about to CE, the Indian Ocean trade played a crucial role in the development of cities and kingdoms in southern Africa. Communities that grew sorghum and millet on landscapes filled with wandering goats, bleating sheep, and herds of cows began to become involved in regional and long-distance exchange that ultimately linked them to Indo-Asian trade systems that used the monsoon winds to trade among Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Madagascar, and Indonesia.
In southern Africa, trade involved goods including ivory, gold, rhino horns, exotic animals, and more locally iron, copper, tin, salt, and cattle. These goods were traded for cloth, prestige ceramics, and, of course, glass beads. Written documents by Arab, Chinese, and Portuguese traders describe their travels, but anything outside of their mercantile focus leaves unmapped and unknown areas.
These trade networks extended thousands of kilometers into the interior of Africa—far beyond the explorations of these travelers—and we are left with archaeological evidence to infer their expanse. The glass beads, however, can fill in these geographic gaps.
Major and minor elements in these glass beads can be used to be diagnostic of the place of origin provenience as well as the technological advances in melting the glass, making the beads, and coloring them.
Ancient glass is most often made from silica sand, to which an alkali or alkali earth-based flux is added to keep the melting point low. The glass beads found in sub-Saharan Africa are made from three main components: The type of soda can be broadly diagnostic of when and where the glass beads were made.
Magnesium oxide MgO serves as the simplest determinant of the soda type: We now know that many of these early glass beads that come to the Kalahari date to the 8th century CE and come from the Middle East—from Iran and areas east of the Euphrates River. These beads are followed by high aluminum mineral soda beads during the 10th century, from South or even Southeast Asia.
By the early 15th century, the beads are again flowing from South Asia, and are documented by Portuguese sources that help trace their places of origin. The beads and their material history fill in where the other documents leave off.
Bosutswe functioned as both a trade bottleneck to gain access across the Kalahari up towards the Congolese Basin and as a provider of cattle—a crucial component for those long journeys undertaken by traders. In between the walls, scraggly patches of buffalo grass Cenchrus ciliarissignify the location of ancient remains; this vegetation preferentially grows on the thick kraal animal pen deposits that are characteristic of African Iron Age sites, outgrowing almost every other type of vegetation.
These kraals would have been where the animals were kept at night after long days of grazing the nearby grasses. Not only could these sites see one another, they were also intimately connected. These beads, and local and long-distance trade brought these two sites together, linking them economically, with Bosutswe the major center and therefore its political ally.
These sites were linked socially as well, as other artifacts like elite ceramics suggest that alliances between the settlements at both sites were political allies through marriage.
As Bosutswe became increasingly important in the regional trade, the increased number of cattle would have needed good grass and plenty of areas to graze in. Moreover, increased riches associated with this long-distance trade would have meant more cattle for the elite at Bosutswe—a major status symbol in ancient southern African societies.
The marginal environment of the Kalahari Desert would have meant that outlying communities would have been incorporated both economically, but also through social and political alliances and ties, possibly through marriages.
It is through the diaries, notes, and records associated with these Portuguese merchants and, later, British colonials, that we continue to trace the story of these ancient glass beads, and the many people they encountered.
Bosutswe is the hilltop located in the far left area of the landscape; Mmadipudi Hill, another Iron Age hilltop site, is visible on the far right.UNIT II: - C.E. This second era is much shorter than the previous one, but during the years between and C.E. many earlier trends continued to be reinforced, while some very important new patterns emerged that shaped all subsequent times.
Trade really takes off during this era (the Silk Road, Indian Ocean trade, Trans-Saharan, etc) spreading all kinds of things like crops, people, resources, ideas, and unfortunately disease too From the fall of the classical civilizations, the Byzantines, the Tang & Song Dynasties in China, and feudal Europe all rise.
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The Spanish “Reconquest” of the Iberian peninsula ends in January with the conquest of Granada, the last city held by the Moors. Foundations present Interaction Impact of interaction among major societies (trade, systems of international exchange, war, and diplomacy).
Silk Roads Spread of Religions Trade regions (Mediterranean Trade Silk Roads Pax Mongolica Indian Ocean Trade Bubonic Plague Crusades Zheng He Islam ” India Change. AP World History is a rigorous, challenging, and rewarding college-level class offered to sophomores at Lincoln Southeast High School.
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