This is a story of human survival over the last one million years in the Namib Desert – one of the most hostile environments on Earth. Namib reveals the resilience and ingenuity of desert communities and provides a vivid picture of our species' response to climate change, and ancient strategies to counter ever-present risk. Dusty fragments of stone, pottery and bone tell a history of perpetual transition, of shifting and temporary states of balance. Namib digs beneath the usual evidence of archaeology to uncover a world of arcane rituals, of travelling rain-makers, of intricate social networks which maintained vital systems of negotiated access to scarce resources. Ranging from the earliest evidence of human occupation, through colonial rule and genocide, to the invasion of the desert by South African troops during the First World War, this is the first comprehensive archaeology of the Namib. Among its important contributions are the reclaiming of the indigenous perspective during the brutal colonial occupation, and establishing new material links between the imperialist project in German South West Africa during 1885-1915 and the Third Reich, and between Nazi ideology and Apartheid.
John Kinahan is an independent Namibian scholar, Adjunct Professor of Archaeology at Arizona State University and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand. His research on the archaeology of the Namib has been widely published internationally.