Comparing Paleolithic Societies

Topics: Paleolithic, Namibia, Middle Paleolithic Pages: 3 (680 words) Published: November 15, 2012
Comparing Paleolithic Societies
 A.  Both the San and the Chumash preserved their ancient way of life into modern times. B.  The San of Southern Africa
1.  Northern fringe of the Kalahari Desert (present-day Angola, Namibia, Botswana) 2.  50,000–80,000 San still live in the region
3.  Part of the Khoisan language family, inhabited southern Africa at least 5,000 years  a.  Gathering and hunting way of life, with stone tools
b.  Remarkable rock art, going back 26,000 years
 i.  Tradition persisted into the nineteenth century
ii.  Perhaps reflected the religious experience of trance healers c.  Most of the Khoisan peoples were absorbed or displaced by Bantu-speaking peoples 4. The San (Ju/’hoansi) still practiced their ancient life with few borrowings when anthropologists started studying them in the 1950s and 1960s  a.  Use some twenty-eight tools, including digging stick, leather garment for carrying things, knife, spear, bow and poisoned arrows, ropes, and nets b. Men hunt, women do most of gathering

c.  Adequate dietd. Short workweek, with even labor division between men and women e.  Uncertain and anxious life, dependent on nature
5.  San society characterized by mobility, sharing, and equality  a.  Basic unit is band of 10–30 people, connected to other bands b.  Many people claimed membership in more than one band
c.  Frequent movement to new territory
d.  No formal leaders, priests, or craft specialists
e.  Very complex social relations
f.  High value given to modesty, cooperation, equality
i.  E.g., “insulting the meat”: a hunter is expected to disparage his accomplishmentg.  complex system of unequal gift exchange 6.  Relative equality between the sexes  
a.  Free sex play between teenagers
b.  Most marriages are monogamous
c.  Frequent divorce among young couples
7.  Frequent conflict over distribution of meat; rivalries over women 8.  Belief system:  
a.  Creator God, Gao Na, is capricious
b.  Lesser god...
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