Tag Archives: goats

Dates for ovicaprines and other domesticates in Africa

Sheep and goats are not native to Africa, and are introduce into Africa at with the appearance of farming. Just a brief entry so I can find the info again. From Archaeology, language, and the African past, By R. Blench.

Sahara                       Air Massif      Adrar Bous                  5000 BC
Sahara                       Niger               Arlit                                 4300 BC
East Africa               Sudan          Esh Shaheinab                 3,200 BC
West Africa             Mali               Winde Koriji West         2,200 BC
West Africa             Mali               Kolima Sud                      1,400 BC
West Africa             Nigeria         Gajiganna                         1,520BC
Horn Africa            Ethiopia       Lake Besaka                     1,500 BC
East Africa              Kenya            Ga Ji  4                              2,000 BC
East Africa              Kenya            Ngamuriak                      1000 BC
Southern Africa    Namibia       Falls rockshelter            190 BC
Southern Africa    SA                  Ma38                                   200 AD       

And another PDF  with some info on it that includes dates for chickens, horses, etc, for reference.

Another bookmarked pdf on the Sahara in the Holocene

Rock art and cultural responses to climatic changes in the central Sahara during the Holocene.

A chapter from a book as a pdf. It has some interesting snippets of information in it. Judging by the refernce to publications in 2003 I’d say it was fairly up to date I found some new North African rock art from Tassili in it:



The second image appears to have either freckles or acne.

He wasn’t very complementary about the possible early domestication in el Nabta propsed by Wendorf. Unfortunately I can’t cut and paste any of the text, so you’ll have to read through to find the interesting bits. It has a lot of datings for bovine and ovicaprid remains in North African sites, which is the main reason I’m interested in it.

The spread of ovicaprines in Africa


Dates of definitely domesticated cattle on North Africa.

Capeletti, Northern Algeria 6,530 BP

Fayum, Northern Egypt 6,400 BP

Merimde, Northern Egypt ,6,000 BP

Ti- Torha North, Sahara, 5970 BP

Uan Muhuggiag, Southern Libya, 6035 BP

It’s also not very complimentary about the overall dating at Uan Muhuggiag site, suggesting that a lot of it is seriously incorrect and that about 6,000 BP  for sheep and goats is about as old as the site gets.

The domestication of the goat, another first from Neolithic Turkey.

Science News,  Oct 14, 2006  by B. Bower

Present-day domestic goats may look humble, but they harbor more genetic diversity than any other livestock species. In fact, analyses of goats’ mitochondrial DNA have shown that these animals evolved through five distinct maternal lines that spread from the Near East and central Asia across Europe.

A new study indicates that goats representing the earliest two of the five genetic lines inhabited the same location in southwestern Europe by about 7,000 years ago, only 3,000 years after the initial domestication of the animals in the Near East.

This ancient genetic diversity in a region far from the goat strains’ origins reflects the long-distance transport of goats from the Near East by European pioneers soon after the origins of animal domestication, farming, and village life, say geneticist Pierre Taberlet of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, and his colleagues in an upcoming Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Today’s other three genetic lines arose later in parts of central Asia, Taberlet’s group proposes.

The scientists analyzed mitochondrial DNA retrieved from 19 goat bones found at an ancient farming site in southern France. Other researchers had excavated these fossils about 20 years ago in soil that contained the remains of more than 5,000 animals, including pigs, cattle, and sheep.

New radiocarbon measurements of five goat bones placed them at between 7,300 and 6,900 years old.

By extracting and analyzing genetic material from several goat bones, two independent laboratories confirmed that the sequences that Taberlet’s group examined were uncontaminated, ancient DNA.

Comparisons of the ancient goat mitochondrial DNA with sequences of modern goat DNA revealed that the two Near Eastern lineages had inhabited the prehistoric French site at the same time.

Taberlet and his colleagues suspect that early farmers transported each line of goats into Europe along a separate westward route, one inland and the other running along the Mediterranean Sea.

A preference for moving goats long distances in ancient times makes sense (SN: 5/12/01, p. 294). Goats are the hardiest livestock species. They’re easy to transport by land or boat, and they willingly follow people.

The new data convincingly show the domestication of two ancient goat lineages at the same time somewhere in the Fertile Crescent region, remarks archaeobiologist Melinda A. Zeder of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Genetic studies of modern domestic sheep have revealed a pattern similar to that of goats, with three to four ancient lineages, Zeder notes. “This suggests that both sheep and goats moved together, as they do today, in mixed herds as they diffused out of the Near East,” she says.


Archaeological data suggest two distinct places of domestication: the Euphrates river valley at Nevali Çori, Turkey (11,000 bp), and the Zagros Mountains of Iran at Ganj Dareh (10,000). Other possible sites of domestication include the Indus Basin in Pakistan at (Mehrgarh, 9,000 bp) and perhaps central Anatolia and the southern Levant.

And, a DNA study on goats.

Divergent mtDNA lineages of goats in an Early Neolithic site, far from the initial domestication areas

Helena Fernández*, Sandrine Hughes,,, Jean-Denis Vigne¶, Daniel Helmer||, Greg Hodgins**, Christian Miquel*, Catherine Hänni,, Gordon Luikart*,, and Pierre Taberlet*,

Goats were among the first farm animals domesticated, 10,500 years ago, contributing to the rise of the “Neolithic revolution.” Previous genetic studies have revealed that contemporary domestic goats (Capra hircus) show far weaker intercontinental population structuring than other livestock species, suggesting that goats have been transported more extensively. However, the timing of these extensive movements in goats remains unknown. To address this question, we analyzed mtDNA sequences from 19 ancient goat bones (7,300–6,900 years old) from one of the earliest Neolithic sites in southwestern Europe. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that two highly divergent goat lineages coexisted in each of the two Early Neolithic layers of this site. This finding indicates that high mtDNA diversity was already present >7,000 years ago in European goats, far from their areas of initial domestication in the Near East. These results argue for substantial gene flow among goat populations dating back to the early neolithisation of Europe and for a dual domestication scenario in the Near East, with two independent but essentially contemporary origins (of both A and C domestic lineages) and several more remote and/or later origins.