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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 2 (1) 2004

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C. Magnavita & N. Schleifer

A look into the earth: evaluating the use of magnetic survey in African archaeology

Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 2 (1), 2004, pages 49-63, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10018

Abstract
In the last decades, geophysical methods such as magnetic survey have become a common technique for prospecting archaeological sites. At sub-Saharan archaeological sites, however, magnetic survey and correlated techniques never came into broad use and there are no signs for an immediate change of this situation. This paper examines the magnetic survey undertaken on the Nigerian site of Zilum, a settlement of the Gajiganna Culture (ca 1800-400 BC) located in the Chad Basin and dated to ca 600-400 BC. By means of the present case study, we demonstrate the significance of this particular type of investigation in yielding complementary data for understanding the character of prehistoric settlements. In conclusion, we point out that geophysical methods should play a more important role in modern archaeological field research, as they furnish a class of documentation not achievable by traditional survey and excavation methods, thus creating new perspectives for interpreting the past of African societies.

Résumé
Ces dernières années, des méthodes de géophysique, telles que la prospection géo-magnétique, sont devenues des techniques de prospections archéologiques communes. Cependant, dans les sites subsahariens la prospection géomagnétique et les techniques qui lui sont associées ne se sont jamais généralisées et il n'y a aucun signe de changement rapide de cette situation. Cet article examine la prospection géomagnétique menée sur le site nigérien de Zilum, un site de la culture de Gajiganna (ca 1800-400 BC), situé dans le Bassin du Tchad et daté de 600 à 400 BC. A la faveur de cette étude, nous montrons la valeur de ce type particulier d'investigation qui fournit des données complémentaires pour la caractérisation des établissements préhistoriques. En conclusion, nous démontrons que les méthodes de géophysique devraient jouer un rôle plus important dans la recherche archéologique de terrain moderne, car elles fournissent une forme de documentation que l'on ne peut atteindre ni par la prospection traditionnelle, ni par les techniques de fouilles, créant ainsi de nouvelles perspectives pour l'interprétation du passé des sociétés africaines.




Keywords: Chad Basin, Gajiganna Culture, magnetometry, Neolithic, settlement archaeology


© Copyright: Africa Magna Verlag 2011
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Editorial Board

Editors:
Sonja Magnavita, Peter Breunig

Book Review Editor:
Katie Manning, UK

Editorial Advisory Board:
Graham Connah, Australia
Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
Ndèye Sokhna Guèye, Senegal
Timothy Insoll, UK
Tom Huffman, South Africa
Eric Huysecom, Switzerland
David Killick, USA
Savino di Lernia, Italy
Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Belgium
Scott MacEachern, USA
David Mattingly, UK
Susan Keech McIntosh, USA
David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
Peter Robertshaw, USA
Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

Copy Editors:
Sam Nixon, UK
Gaby Franke, Germany
Annabelle Gallin, France
Richard Byer, Germany

Editorial Assistance:
Anna Rybar, Germany
Carlos Magnavita, Germany


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