Archaeological Dialogues

Discussion Article

Cattle, community and corrals

John Creighton 

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creighton j   [Google Scholar] 

Jean and John Comaroff's paper provides an elegant narrative describing the processes at work behind the adoption of coinage amongst the Tswana of southern Africa under the influence of European missionaries and colonists. My own particular interests are set back two thousand years earlier with the adoption of coin in France and Britain. At this time Rome was the up-and-coming imperial power engaged in trade, and then conquest, stretching its area of influence and dominions from the Mediterranean littoral into temperate Europe. As such I envy the Comaroff's ability to use a rich array of source material that is unavailable to me with my much poorer archaeological remains and fragmentary literary sources. None the less, many of the themes have echoes of processes that must have taken place many years before in this other time and place.