A new study out of Utah University suggests that campfire stories played an integral role in the formation of early hunter-gatherer communities. The research comes from, Professor Polly Wiessner, who has studied the !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert of northeast Namibia and northwest Botswana for the past 40 years. "Stories are told in virtually all hunter-gatherer societies; together with gifts, they were the original social media,"
Wiessner found that nightly campfire stories in Bushman communities reinforce cultural traditions and values regarding marriage, kinship, social structure and the sharing of resources and land. This instills a strong sense of community among Bushmen based on a common belief system. Wiessner posits that this method existed in the hunter-gatherer communities of pre-history, making story-telling a vital component in the development of human society.
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