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7 December 2018 Feasting among Venda-speakers of South Africa: the Late Iron Age fauna from Mutokolwe
Munyadziwa Magoma, Shaw Badenhorst, Innocent Pikirayi
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Abstract

Mutokolwe is located in the northern part of South Africa. The site was occupied by Venda-speaking farmers during the Late Iron Age. One of the most unusual aspects from this faunal assemblage is the presence of complete metapodia of cattle and sheep. No other faunal assemblage from farming sites in southern Africa contains as many complete specimens, including long bones, as that from Mutokolwe. Skeletal completeness is one of the signatures which signal feasting activities from the archaeological record. Feasting has been recognised in different parts of the world, including Africa. Based on ethnographic accounts, feasting was also common amongst Bantu-speaking farmers of southern Africa, and in particular, Venda-speakers. Taking into account limitations posed by archaeological, ethnography and early historical descriptions, we suggest that the complete long bones of livestock signal feasting activities at Mutokolwe. The faunal assemblage from the site contains an unusual high percentage of identifiable remains, indicating that it was likely subjected to biased sampling. Moreover, few wild animals are present in the assemblage, which suggests, sampling biases aside, that domestic animals were favoured in feasts possibly due to their association with people and ancestors.

© Publications scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris
Munyadziwa Magoma, Shaw Badenhorst, and Innocent Pikirayi "Feasting among Venda-speakers of South Africa: the Late Iron Age fauna from Mutokolwe," Anthropozoologica 53(1), 195-205, (7 December 2018). https://doi.org/10.5252/anthropozoologica2018v53a17
Received: 12 January 2018; Accepted: 6 March 2018; Published: 7 December 2018
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