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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. 10 (2) 2012

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A. Person, S. Amblard-Pison, H. Jousse, T. Vallette, C. Albaret, M. Raimbault, A.-F. Maurer & J. Suire

Influence de l’environnement sur la gestion des ressources au Néolithique dans la zone refuge du Dhar Néma (Mauritanie sud-orientale)

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 10 (2), 2012, pages 133-164, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10221

Résumé

Quelques aspects de l'étude archéologique menée en Mauritanie orientale dans la région du Dhar de Néma, prolongement vers le sud-est des falaises (Dhar) de Oualata et Tichitt, sont présentés ici en rapport avec leur contexte environnemental. Cet environnement géomorphologique particulier, l'arc des Dhar, a joué le rôle d'un géoécosystème refuge offrant encore de l'eau pendant la seconde partie de l'Holocène. Au cours de la période conduisant à l'aridité actuelle du Sahara méridional, les populations néolithiques sont venues s'y réfugier. Parmi plus de 70 sites étudiés, six ont été choisis pour illustrer, chacun, un contexte topographique et écologique différent et ses relations avec les hommes. Leur localisation correspond à divers accidents géologiques orientés selon une direction perpendiculaire au regard de la falaise et en direction du Baten. Pour survivre dans ce milieu sensible durant le réchauffement climatique, les hommes ont su créer des innovations sociales et techniques indispensables. Ces sites ont enregistré les caractéristiques de l'évolution d'une culture depuis le IIIe millénaire avant notre ère, avec notamment une organisation sociale en village et des activités d'élevage et d'agriculture, qui se développent dès le début de leur sédentarisation.

Abstract
Presented here are some aspects of an archaeological investigation conducted in eastern Mauritania in the region of Dhar Nema, a south-eastern extension of the Oualata and Tichitt cliffs (Dhar). This evidence is presented with a focus on its environmental context. The escarpment of the Dhar, a specific geomorphological environment, provided a refuge geoecosystem that continued to supply water during the second part of the Holocene. During the period leading to the current aridity in the southern Sahara, the neolithic populations came there to seek refuge. Amongst more than 70 sites studied, six were chosen that each illustrate a different topographic and ecological context and the interactions of the populations with these. Their location corresponds to varied geological "accidents" oriented perpendicular to the escarpment and in direction of the Baten. In order to survive in this fragile environment during this warming period, the populations developed essential social and technical innovations. These sites have evidenced the characteristics of the evolution of a culture that existed from the 3rd millennium before our era, with notably a social organisation in villages as well as agricultural practices and animal husbandry, which developed from the commencement of their sedentarisation.


Keywords: environment, environnement, habitat, Mauritania, Mauritanie, neolithic, Néolithique, ressources, zone refuge


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Sonja Magnavita, Peter Breunig, Sam Nixon

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Jonathan R. Walz, USA

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Graham Connah, Australia
Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
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

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Gaby Franke, Germany
Annabelle Gallin, France
Richard Byer, Germany

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Anna Rybar, Germany
Carlos Magnavita, Germany


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