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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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The Journal of African Archaeology Monograph Series is a supplement to the Journal of African Archaeology. It offers a platform for more extensive contributions such as research monographs, refereed conference proceedings and other collections that do not fit the Journal’s scope.

Temporalising Anthropology. Archaeology in the Talensi Tong Hills, Northern Ghana

by T. Insoll, R. MacLean & B. Kankpeyeng. Jun 2013 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 270 pages, 281 illustrations, 52 tables. ISBN: 978-3-937248-35-6 (hardcover). EUR 55.00 (hardcover), incl. tax

This volume contains the results of significant fieldwork completed in the Tong Hills of Northern Ghana, an area currently inhabited by the Talensi ethno-linguistic group. Although made anthropologically renowned by the anthropologist Meyer Fortes, the archaeology and material culture of the Talensi Tong Hills had largely been neglected until the research initiated by the authors. Extensive archaeological surveys and excavations were completed allied with ethnoarchaeological and ethnobotanical research on shrines, sacrifice, and indigenous medicine. The data is presented and described, and a settlement chronology for the region reconstructed. The results of the geological, organic geochemical, petrographic, and archaeometallurgical analysis are provided. The function of shrines and the meaning of ‘shrine’ as a concept are evaluated, and indigenous medicinal practices, their links with shrines, and their substances, materiality, and archaeological implications assessed with reference to the primary empirical material gathered. Ritual, performance, and its inter-relation with the past and the archaeological record are also considered so as to question the ‘timelessness’ of previous anthropological presentations. The Tong Hills are also discussed with reference to their place in the wider history and archaeology of the region. This book will be useful to anyone interested in the archaeology and anthropology of African indigenous religions and ritual practices, as well as those interested in West African history, and the relationship between archaeology and anthropology.

Gobero: The No-Return Frontier. Archaeology and Landscape at the Saharo-Sahelian Borderland

by Elena A.A. Garcea (ed.). May 2013 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 312 pp., 195 figures, 63 tables. ISBN: 978-3-937248-34-9 (hardcover). EUR 69.80 (hardcover), incl. tax

The Sahara-Sahel borderland occupies a critical geographical position due to its recurrent latitudinal shifts, continually having a strong impact on humans, animals and plants. Gobero is located at the southern limits of the present Sahara, in Niger. The archaeological record at this site encompasses the re-occupation of the Sahara ca 10,000 years ago until approximately 2000 years ago. During this long period, Gobero witnessed significant fluctuations in climate and water resource availability that resulted in cycles of human occupation, abandonment and re-occupation around a natural basin occupied by a palaeolake, until desertification became an irreversible process and the area turned into a no-return frontier for its occupants. This book presents the archaeological, anthropological and environmental data collected during the 2005 and 2006 field seasons at Gobero. Various factors highlight the extraordinary significance of this site. Thanks to its geographical position, straddling the ancient shifting border(s) of the Sahara and the Sahel, the Gobero’s archaeological record reveals critical population movements in this part of Africa and different economic and technological strategies its inhabitants employed to adapt to changing environmental conditions. The presence of both settlement and burial features at Gobero gives a comprehensive view of the cultural, social, economic and funerary traditions of the people who lived and died at this site during almost the entire Holocene. The results from these archaeological investigations provide a term of reference for future research and interpretations of past human occupations in the Sahara, as well as North and West Africa.

Un Néolithique Ouest-Africain. Cadre chrono-culturel, économique et environnemental de l'Holocene récent en Pays dogon (Mali)

by Sylvain Ozainne. Mar 2013 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 304 pp., 72 figures, 82 tables, 13 colour plates, 20 b/w plates, 16 annexes, English chapter abstracts. ISBN: 978-3-937248-33-2 (hardcover). EUR 35.90 (hardcover), incl. tax

Le débat récurrent concernant la définition du Néolithique en Afrique requiert une meilleure connaissance des phénomènes de peuplement associés à l’adoption de l’élevage et de l’agriculture sur le continent. À partir d’une synthèse des données archéologiques issues de plusieurs années de prospections et de fouilles, cet ouvrage établit une séquence de référence pour l’Holocène récent du Pays dogon (Mali), entre 2500 et 500 av. J.-C. Dans un contexte de recherches pluridisciplinaires, ce travail a été réalisé avec l’objectif d’élaborer un cadre chrono-culturel permettant non seulement de restituer l’histoire du peuplement de la région à la fin de la préhistoire, mais également d’aborder les interactions entre nature et sociétés au cours d’une période marquée par d’importantes transitions économiques et techniques. En décryptant les variations de la séquence du Pays dogon à travers une fenêtre de compréhension étendue à l’échelle ouest-africaine, Sylvain Ozainne propose un scénario de peuplement de la bande sahélo-soudanienne pendant l’émergence des économies de production et apporte de nouveaux éléments à la discussion sur le Néolithique africain.

Traditions céramiques dans la boucle du Niger. Ethnoarchéologie et histoire du peuplement au temps des empires précoloniaux - Monograph Series Volume 7 --- WINNER OF THE SAFA BOOK AWARD 2012 ---

by Anne Mayor. Nov 2011 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 352 pp., 132 figures, 21 tables, 8 colour plates, annexes, English chapter abstracts. ISBN: 978-3-937248-25-7 (hardcover). EUR 35.90 (hardcover), incl. tax

The question of links between material cultural and sociocultural meaning remains a challenge in archaeology. In this book, Anne Mayor proposes a tool for archaeological interpretation in the area of ceramic studies, capable of addressing questions of ethnolinguistic identity and the settlement history in the Niger Bend, West Africa. Three approaches have been employed: - Ethnoarchaeological: The study of modern variability in pottery enables the selection of relevant descriptive criteria. - Historical: The synthesis of available data clarifies the historical depth of ethnic groups and the processes responsible for their formation. - Archaeological: The analysis of excavation data indicates the spatiotemporal distribution of ceramic traditions. The correlation of synchronic and diachronic data enables her to construct a model for the development of ceramic traditions over the last two millennia, in relation to ethnolinguistic units. Application to the excavation of Dangandouloun (Dogon Country, 7th-12th centuries AD) demonstrates the effectiveness of the approach in the interpretation of regional protohistoric sites, and initiates a new approach to the study of the history of techniques and human settlement.

Consumption, Trade and Innovation. Exploring the Botanical Remains from the Roman and Islamic Ports at Quseir al-Qadim, Egypt - Monograph Series Volume 6

by Marijke van der Veen. May 2011 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 313 pp., 104 figures b/w, 16 colour plates, 42 tables, 17 appendices, index.. ISBN: 978-3-937248-23-3 (hardcover). EUR 69.80 (hardcover), incl. tax

Studies of food and foodways are vital to exploring past (and present) cultures. The food remains discovered at the port of Quseir al-Qadim are especially revealing, offering important information about the ancient spice trade and the food practices of those engaged in this trade. Quseir al-Qadim acted as a transhipment port in the Indian Ocean spice trade during both the Roman and medieval Islamic periods. It is located on the Red Sea coast of Egypt and was active between ca. AD 1–250 (Myos Hormos) and again during ca. AD 1050–1500 (Kusayr). This monograph describes the analysis and interpretation of the botanical remains (foodstuffs, wood) recovered during the excavations that took place between 1999–2003, conducted by the University of Southampton, UK. The spectacular preservation conditions at Quseir al-Qadim meant that food remains and wood were found in abundance, including fragments of onion skin, citrus rind, garlic cloves, aubergine seeds, banana skins, wooden bowls, spoons and combs, as well as many of the Eastern spices traded through the port, such as black pepper, ginger, cardamom and betelnut. These remains are fully analysed and discussed under three overarching themes: trade, agricultural innovation and food consumption. The results provide significant new evidence for the Eastern trade and for the changes in agriculture that indirectly resulted from it. They also allow real insights into the lives of those working in the ports. They show the changes in the nature and scale of the Indian Ocean trade between the Roman and Islamic periods, as well as a major shift in the way the inhabitants of the ports saw themselves and located themselves in the wider world. Richly illustrated and thought-provoking, this volume identifies how studies of food enable fuller dialogues regarding ‘globalization’ and also highlights clearly the importance of food in the dynamics of cultural identity and geopolitics.

De Komé à Kribi: Archéologie préventive le long de l'oléoduc Tchad-Cameroun, 1999-2004 Monograph Series Volume 5 --- WINNER OF THE SAFA BOOK AWARD 2010 ---

by Philippe Lavachery, Scott MacEachern, Tchago Bouimon & Christophe Mbida Mindzie. Jul 2010 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 200 pp., 55 figures, 17 cartes, 5 tableaux, annexe.. ISBN: 978-3-937248-13-4 (hardcover) / 978-3-937248-15-8 (softcover) (hardcover). EUR 39.00 (hardcover), incl. tax

Les résultats de la fouille archéologique de la plus longue tranchée jamais creusée en Afrique sont présentés dans ce livre. Depuis les forêts du littoral au sud du Cameroun jusqu’aux savanes sèches du Tchad méridional, la construction du pipeline souterrain du « Chad Export Project » a permis à une équipe de recherche internationale d’investiguer un transept d’une longueur de 1070 Km (!). Le « Komé-Kribi Project » constitue une application exemplaire de l’archéologie de prévention et de sauvetage, associant une série d’institutions politiques et commerciales. Un total impressionnant de 472 sites datant du Middle Stone Age à l’Age du Fer, dont de nombreux sites de première importance, ont été découvert dans des régions jusqu’alors quasi inconnues sur le plan archéologique. L’ouvrage comprend la description des sites et du matériel qui y a été découvert, un aperçu général de la chronologie basée sur une soixantaine de dates C14 et l’analyse des nouvelles découvertes en regard des données existantes dans une perspective synoptique de l’histoire culturelle de l’Afrique centrale. Il fournit une base substantielle pour les études futures et offre également une introduction à la préhistoire de la région pour les archéologues moins au fait de l’histoire de cette partie du continent. Finalement, les auteurs nous offrent un aperçu de l’extraordinaire abondance, à peine effleurée jusqu’à présent, des richesses archéologiques du sol africain.

Komé - Kribi: Rescue Archaeology Along the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline, 1999-2004 Monograph Series Volume 4 --- WINNER OF THE SAFA BOOK AWARD 2010 ---

by Philippe Lavachery, Scott MacEachern, Tchago Bouimon & Christophe Mbida Mindzie. Jun 2010 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 192 pp., 55 figures, 17 maps, 5 tables, annexes. ISBN: 978-3-937248-12-7 (hardcover) / 978-3-937248-14-1 (softcover) (hardcover). EUR 39.00 (hardcover), incl. tax

This book presents the first preview of discoveries made in the longest archaeological trench ever dug in Africa. From the forests of coastal south Cameroon towards the dry savannas in southern Chad, the construction of the underground pipeline of the Chad Export Project enabled an international research team to investigate a transect of 1070 kilometers (!) length. The Komé-Kribi project demonstrates the exemplary application of rescue or preventive archaeology and of cultural heritage management with regard to a variety of involved political and commercial institutions. In areas previously almost unknown archaeologically an impressive number of 472 new sites from the Middle Stone Age to the Iron Age, many considered to be important, were located. Their description, including quantities of cultural materials, a chronological outline based on about sixty radiocarbon dates, and the integration of the new and known evidence in a synoptic consideration of the cultural development of Central Africa, provides a substantial base for further studies and, for those archaeologists less familiar with the region, also offers an introduction into the local prehistory. Finally, the authors have given us a vision on the abundance of information about Africa’s past that is still preserved in the ground and scarcely touched, so far.

Forgerons et sidérurgie en pays dogon. Vers une histoire de la production du fer sur le plateau de Bandiagara (Mali) durant les empires précoloniaux - Monograph Series Volume 3

by Caroline Robion-Brunner. Jan 2010 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 189 pp., 72 figures, 28 tables, 14 colour plates, 11 annexes, English chapter abstracts.. ISBN: 978-3-937248-19-6 (hardcover). EUR 19.80 (hardcover), incl. tax

Si les Dogon ont fait l'objet d'études bien documentées et publiées, les forgerons associés aux Dogon n'avaient fait jusqu'à ce jour l'objet d'aucune étude spécifique. Cet ouvrage concerne la production traditionnelle du fer en pays dogon durant la période comprise entre les derniers grands empires précoloniaux, au milieu du deuxième millénaire de notre ère, et l'installation de la colonie française, au tournant des 19e et 20e siècles. Il vise à préciser l'identité des forgerons attachés aux Dogon et leur rôle, tant social que technique, de définir des traditions sidérurgiques et de cerner l'évolution de la production du fer dans la région. Grâce à une recherche tant actualiste que diachronique, et à la fois locale et extensive, qui associe diverses approches complémentaires telles que les analyses des sources écrites, les enquêtes de tradition orale, les prospections et fouilles archéologiques ou les observations paléométallurgiques, Caroline Robion-Brunner a élaboré un scénario global de l'histoire du peuplement des forgerons du pays dogon et de leur production, qu'elle replace dans la dynamique du plateau central nigérien.

Crossroads / Carrefour Sahel. Cultural and technological developments in first millennium BC / AD West Africa - Monograph Series Volume 2

by S. Magnavita, L. Koté, P. Breunig & O.A. Idé (eds.). Dec 2009 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 274 pp., 150 figures (32 in color), 17 tables.. ISBN: 978-3-937248-17-2 (hardcover). EUR 29.80 (hardcover), incl. tax

This volume contains the proceedings of the international conference "Cultural developments and technological innovations in first millennium BC/AD West Africa" held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in March 2008, with participants from eleven countries and three continents. The rationale behind the meeting was the conviction that the first millennium before and after the beginning of the Common Era, like no other period before, encompasses the origins of developments that are directly related to the modern world - particularly in Africa. Current archaeological research in West Africa has been providing an increasing amount of relevant evidence on this period, including a series of significant developments that had critical impacts on human ways of life in subsequent times. The papers of the present volume deal with different aspects of these developments and contribute towards the understanding of the unique cultural diversity of this part of the African continent.

Gajiganna – Analysis of Stratigraphies and Pottery of a Final Stone Age Culture of Northeast Nigeria - Monograph Series Volume 1

by Karl Peter Wendt. Sep 2007 Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt a.M., 200 pp., 76 figures, 13 tables, 85 plates.. ISBN: 978-3-937248-10-3 (hardcover). EUR 29.80 (hardcover), incl. tax

In this volume, Karl Peter Wendt presents the first comprehensive results of a series of archaeological excavations carried out at sites of the earliest food-producing communities known in the Chad Basin of Northeast Nigeria: the so-called Gajiganna Culture. He describes the background of research, sheds light on the information contained in the stratigraphies of the sites examined, and offers exhaustive and advanced statistical analysis on technological, temporal, typological and ornamental aspects of the pottery recovered in course of research. After considering the ceramic sequence in its absolute chronological framework, the author makes an attempt to detect possible cultural relations between the Gajiganna sites and other archaeological locations both within and outside the Chad Basin. The volume is complemented by a photographic documentation of the Gajiganna pottery assemblages.

Other planned volumes:

Volume 10: Temporalising Anthropology. Archaeology in the Talensi Tong Hills, Northern Ghana.
by Timothy Insoll, Rachel MacLean and Benjamin W. Kankpeyeng

Volume 11: Tadmekka. The Archaeology of an Early Islamic Market Town in West Africa (Republic of Mali)
Edited by Sam Nixon

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Monograph: Gajiganna
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Editorial Board

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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