Hide and meat among Boreda hideworkers: Ethnoarchaeozology of consumption and craft practices in Gamo (southwest Ethiopia).
The Omotic-speaking Gamo represent one of the southern Ethiopia societies that are organized in a widely recognized caste system. The history of this society and the development of its caste organization are still largely unknown. Between 2006 and 2012, we organized a collaborative project with people of the Gamo district of Boreda in an effort to combine their oral traditions and life histories with archaeological investigations regarding the history of their present-day caste system. Elders claimed nine mountain-top landscapes as the original locations for Boreda settlement. One of these settlements, Garu, is an abandoned historic village site of about 60 hectares that was occupied during the 18th-19th century CE. Archaeozoological results from Garu suggest some continuity in the practices of leatherworkers particularly in their access to specific animal parts for consumption and processing. From a methodological point of view, this study illustrates how atypical data can be used to understand the diversity of animal use and provide original leads in the interpretation of prehistoric sites elsewhere. Importantly, cattle remains from Garu indicate the earliest evidence of Zebu cattle from southern Ethiopia dating to the mid-18th century.
Lesur, J., Arthur, J.W., Arthur, K.W. & Curtis, M.C. (2017). Hide and meat among Boreda hideworkers: Ethnoarchaeozology of consumption and craft practices in Gamo (southwest Ethiopia). Quaternary International, doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2017.08.055
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