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Collecting Food, Cultivating PeopleSubsistence and Society in Central Africa$
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Kathryn M. de Luna

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300218534

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300218534.001.0001

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The Sources and Settings of Botatwe History

The Sources and Settings of Botatwe History

(p.24) 1. The Sources and Settings of Botatwe History
Collecting Food, Cultivating People

Kathryn M. de Luna

Yale University Press

This chapter introduces the three sources of evidence for the book—paleoclimatology, archaeology, and comparative historical linguistics—and the three historical frameworks each offers for the history that follows in later chapters. It reviews the physical geography and ecology of south central Africa and reconstructs the region’s climate history to describe the changing environmental framework. Next, it uses archaeological evidence to reconstruct the history of regional settlement patterns and economies during the Iron Age. The chapter then introduces the method of comparative historical linguistics, including: a new classification of Botatwe languages based on lexicostatistics and innovations in phonology and lexis; an explanation of the reconstruction of words and their meanings (derivation and etymology); and the challenges and opportunities of glottochronology. Finally, the chapter weaves the three frameworks together into a settlement narrative of Botatwe communities in the broader context of the Bantu Expansion.

Keywords:   Archaeology, Botatwe, Bantu Expansion, Comparative Historical Linguistics, Derivation, Etymology, Glottochronology, Iron Age, Lexicostatistics, Paleoclimatology

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