Using serial sampling of Inorganics from Cattle Teeth to Identify Resource Management at Great Zimbabwe

Michelle House will present the Department of Archaeology seminar with a talk entitled, " Using serial sampling of Inorganics from Cattle Teeth to Identify Resource Management at Great Zimbabwe". 

Abstract: Great Zimbabwe, known for its magnificent architecture, thrived from around AD1200- 1700. Cattle at this prehistoric Shona society have long been known to be of vital importance socially, economically and politically. The distribution of cattle skeletal remains across the site through time and space have been relatively well researched. However, the management of resources by cattle herders such as grazing land as well as transhumance strategies have never been explored using empirical evidence. This talk presents the results of a PhD project aiming to use serial sampling of cattle tooth enamel to measure δ18O, δ13C and 86Sr/87Sr profiles. These methods have been widely used in other regions of the world, and to a lesser extent in the southern African Iron Age. This work hopes to shed light on issues surrounding the seasonal use of resources around Great Zimbabwe and southern Zimbabwe through time and space.

Bio: Michelle House is a PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town. She completed her BSc in Archaeology and Environmental and Geographical Science at UCT. Her Honours and Masters dissertations explored how socio-political complexity is defined in the Iron Age of southern Africa using Mapela Hill as a case study. Her PhD has taken a different path using well-established stable isotope methods to better understand how natural resources were managed through time in order to support herds of cattle at Great Zimbabwe.

Mon, 20 Aug 2018 - 13:00
Contact Information: 

Teaching Studio, Room 3.10, Department of Archaeology, Beattie Building, Upper Campus, UCT.