Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Re. cattle-raising

In Europe, the early farmers are sometimes labelled the First Temperate Neolithic (= FTN) in Balkan history. As agriculture spread west, it seems there was gradual acculturation of Late Mesolithic hunter/gatherers who added bits of the Neolithic "kit" as and when the circumstances suited and gave rise to what have been called Impressed Ware Culture (s) from their pottery that gave way to the Cardial Ware(s) from the impressions on their early ceramics being made with Cardium (= cockle) shells. These developments appear to happen primarily along the coasts plus islands of southern Europe and/or facing parts of the Magreb.

In central Eur., out of the western fringes of the FTN emerged groups having common pottery decorated with linear bands (Linear Pottery Culture or LPC). The Germans called this Linearbandkeramik, and sometimes Danubian. Four things mark out the LBK from the Impresed/Cardial Ware Cultures. One is the contrast of the pottery, the speed with which the LBK spread from Hungary to Holland, that the LBK exploited what is called the loess corridor but above all, what one British archaeologist calls that they were superb cattle raisers.

Another aspect of the LBK is that tends to be overlooked is their earthen bank-ditch structures surmised to have been cattle enclosures. It seems these enclosures are also known in Italy as the trincerati (= trenched/ditched villages) of the Stentinello facies of the Impressed/Cardial Wares and in Iberia as comparable field-structures of the El Garcel Culture (subject to a lot of debate). The really interesting things about the Stentinello plus El Garcel Cultures is that their African links are stressed and that those of south Italy are satisfactorily earlier than the comparable enclosures of the LBK.

Ruth Whitehouse was one of the leading experts on the Italian Neolithic and she expressed the opinion the Italian trincerati originated in the thorn-bush bomas still used in parts of Africa to keep their cattle safe from predators.

This would of course be the parts of the once-fertile Magreb that is now mainly the super-arid Sahara. It does appear that the growing aridity triggered a massive migration. For that of groups that emerged as the Proto-Mande see Clyde Wnters works on the Mande and cattle domestication. For that on groups emerging as the Proto-Fulani see my citing of Hampate Ba at the end of the attachment I am sending with this.

A much earlier article of mine carried the tentative linkage of the Mauruso/Iberian or Ibero/Mauretanian as a Late Mesolithic manifestation of this involving a migration across the the short distance of the Straits of Gibraltar from Magreb/north Africa to Iberia (= Spain & Portugal). Maritime links somewhat further south in Africa, what emerged as the Niger/Congo (N/C) or Bantu-A languages further developed into the Bantu-B or simply called Bantu-speakers. If you recall my East Africa & the Sea in Antiquity, an argument is set out there that the Proto-Bantu were in eastern parts of southern Af.very much earlier than usually surmised and that against this background can be placed the emergence of the sea-going Bantu usually called the Swahili but sometimes the Shirazi ot Zanj. This too would happen much earlier generally accepted and means that only later did the Swahili come under Malagasy and/or Arabic influence.

My tentative conclusions on this count are greatly strengthened by what seems to have been a kindred process on the west coast of Africa where Pre-Bantu groups were gradually Bantuised and the succeeding Bantu also became seafarers. On this, look up " (online).



Going through some old emails, it became obvious that a couple of questions that posed in this email remained unanswered. Lindemann's point of departure was Safi (Morocco) and he reached Bermuda on the western side of the Atlantic.

Heyerdahl learnt about not using dried out reeds but to use green ones in time to construct RA II. For the second vessel he collected reeds from Lake Tana (Eth.) not the Nile proper. This was before he sailed the Tigris on the Indian Ocean ans which was of berdi reeds not papyrus reeds. The Tigris reeds probably confirmed what was said  in a now-lost text of Eratosthenes (3rd c.BCE) but coming down to us via Pliny. the former wrote of Nile river-craft as not just sailing on rivers but the same craft as not just sea-going but also as ocean-going.

For the Tigris, Heyerdahl used Marsh Arabs plus Aymara Amerinds from Peru.

There are other suggestions as to why Ra I failed. Heyerdahl himself regarded the failure was due to his not realising that the line across the back of some Eg. paintings was not just some artistic convention of the Egyptians but represented a rope acting as a hogging-truss keeping stem plus stern from drooping into the water on what was a vessel without a keel. Donald Muffett (in Blacks in Science) felt it was due to the fact that Heyerdahl employed Buduma from Lake Chad. Neither Heyerdahl not Muffett go quite far enough. Both the Egyptians and the Buduma built reed-craft but the Buduma kaday was intended for the shallow and  waters of Lake Chad not those of the Atlantic Ocean.

As to not recognising the rope as a hogging-truss, this is also curious as it is my understanding that Cecil Torr had recognised this as far back as the 1890s. However, this may not be only the only mistake by people far more qualified than this armchair sailor. When Tim Severin took Hsu-Fu on his "Pacific Quest...", this vessel fell apart several hundred miles short of completing the intended China-to-US journey. The reason for this would appear to have been destruction by teredo worms in turn caused by not enough of the  anti-worm gunk being plastered all over the hull of Hsu-Fu. As this effectiveness of this rank-smelling anti-fouling agent has been known about literally for centuries (if not for millennia), this too must come as a surprise.

-----Original Message-----
From: Alice Linsley <>
To: Henry Bourne <>
Sent: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 0:15
Subject: Re: Alice C. Linsley

Dear Mr. Bourne,

What a delight to read your informative letter!  I am glad that you responded.

Catherine Acholonu is a fine scholar and I hope that I didn't give the impression that I held her work in less than high regard, although I haven't read everything she has written.

My blog Just Genesis (one of 5 blogs I maintain) is not intended to be academic.  It presents 30+ years of anthropological research on the book of Genesis and I want it to be accessible to as many people as possible. Some people complain that it is too dense.

I like John Sutton's term Aqualithic.  I wonder how long it was a wet area and the extent of the wetness. I suspect that the part of Africa where the oldest human fossils have been found (over 3 million years) was once very wet.  This could explain why  archaic populations living in the equatorial belt show evidence of air sacks in the throat, as do apes of the tropics.

Do you know Lindemann's points of departure and arrival?  I was not aware that his crossing was only 55 days.  Remarkable.  

Heyerdahl apparently  learned from the Marsh Arabs that if the reeds are cut in August they retain their buoyancy rather than absorbing water. I understand that r eed boats of this type were about 60 feet long and were capable of carrying 50 tons of cargo when fully loaded. Is that correct?

Best wishes to you!

On Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM, Henry Bourne <> wrote: 

Dear Prof. Linsley, First, thanks for your reply. There is perhaps a little irony in your commenting on my initial contact was by letter rather than by email. Given my dislike of so-called "social" networks that in my opinion are little more than data-gathering exercises on their participants, my letter was in lieu of any other means of contact because you do not appear to have what I would describe as an ordinary email address usually shown by a pictured envelope marked by a large letter M. Will you be installing this method of contact? Your point about the wet Holocene in what was a largely once-lush Magreb/is now the mainly arid Sahara chimes with the term coined by the British archaeologist John Sutton (Journ. of Af. Hist 1974; Antiquity 1977) as the Aqualithic. David Rohl's take on this was as part of his revival of the Dynastic/Eastern Race theories going back to the early days of Egyptology (esp. Flinders Petrie). What sinks the Petrie/Rohl (this seems an apt metaphor) in my opinion comes with the revelation that the vessels supposedly are being depicted on portable objects in Egypt upwards of ca. 2000 years before the supposed Dynastic Race ever set sail from Sumeria. Further is the Rohl version of the Velikovsky chronology brings real problems with it. So far as I know these things, this is part of various works that no written history antedates the 16th c., the Great Wall of China post-dates World War II (but then has WWII happened yet?) For me, a certain scepticism also pertains to Afrocentric views of some kind of lake/river-based empire across the Magreb/Sahara. This has been called the Zingh Empire that seems to me to be just another spelling of Zenj/Zanj itself one of the Arabic words for African blacks mainly applied to east Africans south of the Horn of Af. in Somalia and borrowed to give a new twist to the Aqualithic. A benign fishing-based economy yes but an African empire this early, no. This is not to belittle the west African state-forming abilty at forming states that not only covered widely differing ethnic plus linguistic groups but also demonstrate a longevity matching most of the other great empires of history. This seems to be underway during the Tichitt period but more certainly as the Wakar/Old-Ghana, Malian, Songhai, etc, Empires. Nor can the watercraft expertise of African coastal groups be denied, the more so given that one of the Greek words for those groups was Ichthyophagi (= Fish-eaters). A voyage across the Atlantic Ocean not receiving the same publicity as those of Tim Severin or Thor Heyerdahl is that of German doctor named Hannes Lindemann (Alone at Sea 1958). He took 55 days and did so in a west African dugout-canoe that he bought off the shelf not vessels specifically, as with the Brendan for Severin, the Ra vessels for Heyerdahl, etc. The size was that for the 1/2-man crews normal for west African fishing; receiving high praise from no less an authority than James Hornell. Lindemann (ib.) lived on the all-fish diet naming the Ichthyophagi. His solo voyage was faster than that of Amerigo de Vespucci (the alleged namer of the Americas) over the same distance in took 64 days in a European sailing-ship in full rig. Going east rather than west from Africa and a lot further back in time, Ichthyophagi, Beachcombers, Strandloopers, Oceanic Negroes, etc, stand together as descriptive terms for Out-of-Africa movement(s). The outward appearance of groups along these Indian Ocean coasts is still very comparable to that of the presumed African ancestors but genetics shows considerable mixing since the early migration(s).

It is worth closing here wth a comment about the mention of the work of Catherine Acholonu in one of your articles. You may want to bear that yours truly is not nor ever has been academic and that Catherine Acholonu is not just a university graduate but a professor at one of the most prestigious universities in Nigeria. Its seems a fair bet that not many white non-academics have read all three volumes of her Before Adam series, as I have. They are heavy going and whereas, the Velikovskian date-scheme lowers everything by 500/1000 years, the Acholonu works come with what seems to me to be far too long a chronology. Nor does the borrowing of the Velikovskian notion of the Sahara resulting from nuclear war waged on this planet millions of years ago by alien space beings help in my acceptance of her theories and for those dwarves that pepper her pages, you almost feel like screaming.


Harry Bourne

-----Original Message-----
From: Alice Linsley <>
To: bsooty1 <>
Sent: Sun, 26 Aug 2012 22:04
Subject: Alice C. Linsley

Dear Mr. Bourne,

I was delighted to receive your informative letter. I prefer letters to electronic communications, but these days the art of letter writing is virtually lost. How will historians portray this time with so few epistolary documents?

Rohl's observation of the extensive Nile flooding to the east coupled with the evidence of Nile flooding to the west and the interconnected water systems of west central Africa suggests a wet world in the Holocene. The Niger and Benue Troughs flowed into the Atlantic near modern Logos Nigeria, so from the Atlantic commerce into west central Africa and to Lake Chad and the Nile is plausible.

The ship motif along the Nile and in Sudan predates Dynastic Egypt. Fishing nets are portrayed on rock carvings in the Sudan and  at the  Khormusan sites of ancient Nubia (65,000 and 55,000 years) where an abundance of fish and wild game bones were found.  The oldest known cemetery in the Sahara (about 7500 BC) reveals "The burial density, tool kit, ceramics, and midden fauna suggest a largely sedentary population with a subsistence economy based on fishing and on hunting of a range of savanna vertebrates." The discovery was made by National Geographic photographer  Mike Hettwer  in 2000.

I am fascinated by information you offered concerning the construction of boats from silk-cotton trees. If I could confirm the period of time I might be able to offer a reasonable explanation for this. The Spanish called this tree "Ceiba petandra" and it would have been a difficult tree to work with because the trunk has spines similar to thorns on rose bushes.  Its arrival in West Africa is likely from the 1500s, not earlier.  I'm speculating here.  If it arrived much earlier, we might have evidence of population back flow to Africa or of commerce between West Africa and the Caribbean.

I will check out your articles at and I look forward to further conversation.

Best wishes,
Alice C. Linsley

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