1.Discuss the various characteristics of the stone age cultures of Africa 2.What are the methods for the reconstruction of pre history of Africa.
1.Characteristics of stone age cultures of Africa include:
They were uncivilized cultures.
Stone tools were developed in the early stone age Africa and a variety of stone-tool assemblages continued to arise throughout the period. The stone age cultures were divided into 3 separated periods - Paleolithic period, Mesolithic period and Neolithic period, depending on degree of sophistication of the stone tools.
They adopted hunter-gatherer lifestyles Paleolithic period as evidenced by the use of stone, bone, flint and antler. Cultural developments in the later stone age periods gradually led to adoption of pastoralism.
They began using the fire.
People kept records and communicated using cave paintings.
There was belief in the after life and thus they began to bury the dead.
The stone age cultures ended with the advent of metalworking were succeeded by The Bronze Age as well as the Iron Age in some regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
2.Methods for the reconstruction of prehistory of Africa.
Archaeology - this is a study of people's cultures of years past through excavation and examination of material remains that are found. Archaeologists rely on carbon-14 dating to determine the age of artefacts. Archaeological excavations have contributed significantly to the reconstruction of pre-history of Africa.
Oral traditions - it gives accounts of the traditions about the past passed between several generations by word of mouth or other methods e.g. in the form of story, myth, folktale, custom, music etc.
Linguistics - this is a branch of study that examines the origin, structure and changes of a language that occur in the languages over a period of time. Linguistics have contributed to the reconstruction of African history through tracing origin of ethnic groups, confirmation of origin, historians can establish related languages and through identification of ethnic groups.
Ethnography/ ethnology - this examines present-day social institutions, crafts and artistic skills of people.
Numismatics - this is a study of coins. It helps historians to accurately trace where the coins were minted and found so as to determine level of civilization and types of economy.