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Among the Headless Hordes: Missionaries, Outlaws and Logics of Landscape in the Wittebergen Native Reserve, c. 1850–1871

King, R; (2018) Among the Headless Hordes: Missionaries, Outlaws and Logics of Landscape in the Wittebergen Native Reserve, c. 1850–1871. Journal of Southern African Studies , 44 (4) pp. 659-680. 10.1080/03057070.2018.1475910. Green open access

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Abstract

This article offers an archaeological perspective on the Wittebergen Native Reserve, not through excavated remains, but by exploring how historical perceptions of a landscape related to experiences of authority, tenure, mobility and security. It examines how (mis-)perceptions of land (its productivity and availability) helped missionaries to formulate settlement projects to create stable communities of sedentary agriculturist labourers. Wittebergen was one such project, also proposed as a ‘buffer’ between Moshoeshoe I and potential allies to the south. I then discuss alternative experiences of Wittebergen: as a node in a network of sites employed by mobile cattle raiders in the southern Maloti–Drakensberg, and as implicated in actions coded by white observers as ‘disorderly’. Wittebergen thus figures in experiences of landscape that emphasise mobility and authority. Where these logics of landscape met, they had tangible consequences: certain forms of land use were interpreted as vacancies, justifying colonial seizure; fields, mountains and homesteads became the terms of debates linking tenancy with safety and lawlessness; and aspects of the landscape were modified to address threats to the reserve’s security, real or imagined. This article thus signposts how material–cultural traces discerned through archaeological perspectives provide direct statements by communities marginalised in written or oral historical texts.

Type: Article
Title: Among the Headless Hordes: Missionaries, Outlaws and Logics of Landscape in the Wittebergen Native Reserve, c. 1850–1871
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/03057070.2018.1475910
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2018.1475910
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Wittebergen Native Reserve, Basutoland, Wesleyan Missionary Society, land tenure, Basotho, BaPhuthi
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136138
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