Illuminating the Fighting History of Ancient Africa

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In the history of the scholarship of history, we, as academics, have privileged cultures with writing, even though advanced societies existed that relied on oral tradition rather than the written word. Excavating, both metaphorically and physically, the history of a particular culture group requires looking into all of the artifacts that articulate the morays of that society. Art and sculpture, architecture and tombs, songs and dancing and even fighting sports can provide historians with a depiction of a society that is rich and intricate and interesting. The Greeks may have written about their ancient fighting sports, but many African tribes and countries live their history as their martial arts traditions have passed on, through oral history, rituals, and the actual arts themselves, through hundreds of generations.

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