Tag Archives: sheep

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 sheep,

An Anatolian wild sheep. Looks a lot like a goat.

Evidence of three maternal lineages in near eastern sheep supporting multiple domestication events

Archaeological data suggest two different areas with independent sheep domestication events in Turkey: the upper Euphrates valley in eastern Turkey, where the most important reference is the Nevali Cori settlement, considered the oldest domestication site in the Near East and Central Anatolia (particularly, the Catal höyük and Asikli höyük sites.

 Archaeological data from Early Neolithic human settlements distant from one another throughout the Near East support the occurrence of independent domestication events in this area. The first region of importance, with the oldest human settlements in the Near East (Nevali Cori and Çayönü Tepesi), is dated about 8500 BC and located in the upper Euphrates valley in eastern Turkey, near the northern arc of the so-called Fertile Crescent . The Zagros region of modern day Iran and Iraq is also recognized as a primary centre of sheep domestication . In central Anatolia, the Asikli Höyük and Çatalhöyük sites have also revealed morphologically domestic caprines . Finally, the Southern Levant region of southern Syria, western Jordan and Israel has also been suggested as a centre of sheep domestication. Actually, the first two regions, the upper Euphrates valley and Zagros were proposed by  as the origin of two out of the three goat lineages, presumably rising from independent domestications.

On the basis of all this, the multiple sheep maternal lineages revealed in our study suggest that the process of sheep domestication was more complex than previously thought. Estimated divergence time, long before domestication dating (around 8000 BC), suggests that at least three independent domestication events were involved in the origin of modern domestic sheep.

So it seems sheep were domesticated in multiple locations.