Section B

History of the Environment, Settlement and Language in Southwestern Africa

[Projects] [Research Area]

The arid and semi-arid areas bordering the Namib and the Kalahari deserts have for centuries served as a basis for cultural and racial contacts, as many traces of ecological and cultural change testify.

During the first phase of activities from 1995 to mid 1998, the members of the Research Unit were successful in identifying these traces with the help of africanist, archaeological, geographical and archaeobotanical methods and to establish their causal and structural interrelationships. In order to focus the multidisciplinary capacities, we choose the strategy of working within the limits of the same geographical transect.

One transect runs parallel to the international boundary between Namibia and Angola from Kaokoland in the West up to the Caprivi Strip in the East, stretching some 100 kilometres to the North and to the South of the international boundary. The other one stretches from the southern Namib eastwards to the southern part of the Kalahari. This procedure was in so far successful as we were able to discover many historical structures of cultural and ecological change in the sense of the main topic of the Research Unit. As we expected right from the beginning, these structures evidently have areal expansions beyond the geographical pattern of the transects.

During the second phase from mid 1998 up to the end of 2001, it will therefore be necessary to follow the new strategy of adapting our field research to the geographical pattern of the structures discovered during the first phase. The project B 1 will expand its activities onto the Bantu languages of Southeastern Angola and the Owambo languages spoken in Southcentral Angola. The project B 4 will strengthen its field activities in the Kavango region where sites of iron production were discovered. The project B 5 will expand regionally towards the southern boundary of the Namib to pursue the anthropogenically conditioned ecological changes finally caused by the paleomonsoon dynamics in Southwest Africa.


B1 Migration, Settlement and Cultural History on the Basis of Linguistic Sources (African Studies)

B4 Palaeoecology and the Late Holocene Occupation of Northern Namibia (Prehistory)

B5 Soils, Colluviums and Valley Sediments as Indicators of Climatic Change and Landscape Evolution (Geography)

B7 Modelling Vulnerability in Kaokoveld (Northern Namibia) using Remote Sensing

Research areas:
Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Southern Angola, Southern Zambia

Research Areas Section B B4 B5 B4 B1 B1 B7 Link to Project E1


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