An international team of researchers ran chemical and isotopic analyses of copper artifacts from southern Africa and discovered new cultural connections among people living in the region between the 5th and 20th centuries.
In a paper published in the journal Plos One, the researchers explain that people in the area between northern South Africa and the Copperbelt region in central Africa were more connected to one another than scholars previously thought.
“Over the past 20 to 30 years, most archaeologists have framed the archaeological record of southern Africa in a global way with a major focus on its connection to imports coming from the Indian Ocean,” said Jay Stephens, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri.
“But it’s also important to recognize the interconnected relationships that existed among the many groups of people living in southern Africa. The data show the interaction between these groups not only involved the movement of goods but also flows of information and the sharing of technological practices that come with that exchange.”
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