Archaeologist: Cattle first kept in Sahara

Jul 24, 2006

An archaeologist who has spent decades studying sites in the Sahara says nomads who roamed the area millennia ago were the first to domesticate cattle.

At the time, what is now desert was a vast savannah with a humid climate, Dr. Stefan Kropelin of the University of Cologne told the BBC. When the climate changed and the area became one of the driest places on Earth, its inhabitants moved into the Nile Valley.

"They brought all their know-how to the rest of the continent -- the domestication of cattle was invented in the Sahara in the humid phase and was then slowly pushed over the rest of Africa," he said. "This Neolithic way of life, which still is a way of life in a sense; preservation of food for the dry season and many other such cultural elements, was introduced to central and southern Africa from the Sahara."

The dry conditions in the Sahara, which have also left it almost empty of people and any other form of life, have had one ironic result -- its archaeological sites are exceptionally well-preserved.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: The economic territory of Upper Palaeolithic groups is specified by flint

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Radar search to find lost Aboriginal burial site

4 hours ago

Scientists said Tuesday they hope that radar technology will help them find a century-old Aboriginal burial ground on an Australian island, bringing some closure to the local indigenous population.

Archaeologists excavate NY Colonial battleground

Jul 19, 2014

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground in upstate New York that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of an infamous massacre and the location of the era's largest ...

User comments : 0