Textbook Reading Lee Ch 3
Lee Ch 3: Environment and Settlement
The Dobe area was abundant with wildlife, who were super botanists and could read the landscape like a road
Landscape had different elevation, important for drainage, vegetation zones and plant resources.
The main feature of the Dobe area was the system of longitudinal dunes running parallel to each other and
oriented roughly east-west.
4 types of habitats:
o Dunes - either moving or fixed by the vegetation
o Flats – intermediate between dunes and melop; plains of buff-to-white compacted sands that
provided as a grove for berry bushes
o Melapo - 2 subtypes; smaller melapo have compacted soils of light gray of buff. Well-defined
melapo with gray compacted silty soils support many species of the Acaia
o Hardpans – soil here consists of patchse of bare rock with sand or mud. Baoboab tree with its
fruit and seed is most important food found here.
Water scarcity a major problem for the Dobe Area. Ju rely on hierarchy of water sources ranked in order of
First are permanent waterholes found in main river bottoms
most are natural but all have been improved and maintained by San or Blacks
Second are season waters that exist for 1-6 months a year
found in melapo between dunes where local drainage patterns produce a depression
Third, small quantities of water found in hollow interiors of mongongo and other trees
Finally, several species of water-bearing root
which may be dug up and used in emergencies
The 50 resident mammals species provide the Ju/’hoansi with a solid hunting subsistence base. Total of 260
named species in Ju’s animal universe.
Ju hunters have to compete for prey with other major predator species: lions, leopards, etc. They don’t seem to
be afraid of them; sleep in the open without fires when necessary and make no provision to protect or fortify
their living sites.
Ungulates (hoofed mammals) – main game of Ju. Elephant is the only large nonungulate regularly seen in
Dobe area. Of the smalle – medium sized mammals, 4 important to diet: ant bear, porcupine, springhare and
scrub hare. The pangolin (scaly anteater) less common but also eaten.
Squirrel, shrew, bat, mouse and gerbil mammals not eaten by Ju.
Galago, vervet monkey and baboon are 3 primates also not eaten by Ju.
Dobe area lies within summer rainfall zone of Southern Africa. ANT101
Textbook Reading Lee Ch 3
Area experiences hot summers with 4-6 month rainy season and moderate-to-cool winters w/o rainfall
Hottest months of the year are Oct-Feb: 30-40 Centigrade
Coldest months: June & July
night temperatures fall to freezing but rise during day to 24-27 degrees C
Temps fairly consistent rfom yr to yr but not the case with rainfall
annual precipitation vary year to year by as much as 500%
The Seasonal Round
Ju divide year into 5 seasons.
!Huma (spring rains) – year begins with first rains in Oct and Nov.
Bara (main summer rains) – Dec to March; heaviest rain fall. Major summer plant foods: fruits berries, melons
and leafy greens.
≠Tobe (autumn) – brief autumn occurs in April or May after rains have ceased but before cold weather
apporaches. Food is abundant; summer foods still avaiable. April mongongo nut harvest is a major new food
!Gum (winter) – coo