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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. 13 (1) 2015

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E. Huysecom, S. Ozainne, C. Jeanbourquin, A. Mayor, M. Canetti, S. Loukou, L. Chaix, B. Eichhorn, L. Lespez, Y. Le Drézen & N. Guindo

Towards a Better Understanding of Sub-Saharan Settlement Mounds before AD 1400: The Tells of Sadia on the Seno Plain (Dogon Country, Mali)

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 13 (1), 2015, pages 7-38, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10266

Abstract

In the Niger Bend, many studies have shown the existence of settlement mounds which mainly developed between the 1st millennium BC and the 15th century AD. While knowledge about tell-type sites in sub-Saharan Africa has advanced in recent years, many aspects of this topic remain poorly understood. Considering the vast geographic area and time span, there is very little accurate chronostratigraphic information available. This relative lack of long sequences strongly limits the diachronic integration of cultural, economic and environmental data, necessary to unravel the socio-economic mechanisms underlying the emergence and development of this type of site. In this paper, we present the results of the excavations we recently conducted on a group of settlement mounds at Sadia, on the Seno Plain (Dogon Country, Mali), which allow a precise chronological, cultural and environmental sequence to be defined. By combining this work and the results from an extensive approach applied throughout the Dogon Country for more than fifteen years, we provide a scenario for the Seno tells and an insight into the development of Sahelian rural societies, including considerations on their interactions with the early State polities of the Niger Bend, prior to AD 1400.


Résumé

Dans la boucle du Niger, plusieurs études ont montré l'existence de buttes anthropiques qui se sont développées principalement entre le premier millénaire avant J.-C. et le 15ème siècle de notre ère. Bien que les connaissances sur les tells subsahariens aient récemment été enrichies, de nombreuses questions restent à élucider. En effet, les données chronostratigraphiques précises disponibles restent rares par rapport à la zone géographique et à la période impliquées. Ce relatif manque de longues séquences limite fortement l'intégration diachronique de données culturelles, économiques et environnementales, nécessaire à la compréhension des mécanismes sous-jacents à l'émergence et au développement de ce type de sites. Dans cet article, nous présentons les résultats obtenus lors des fouilles que nous avons récemment menées sur un ensemble de buttes anthropiques à Sadia, dans la plaine du Séno (Pays Dogon, Mali), qui ont permis de définir une séquence chronologique, culturelle et environnementale précise. L'intégration de ce travail et des résultats d'une approche extensive menée dans l'ensemble du Pays Dogon depuis plus de 15 ans nous permet de proposer un scénario de l'occupation des tells du Séno, ainsi qu'une réflexion sur le développement des sociétés rurales sahéliennes et leurs interactions avec les premiers États de la boucle du Niger, avant 1400 AD.



Keywords: chronology, early Sahelian polities, environment, rural societies, settlement mounds, West Africa


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Editors:
Sonja Magnavita, Peter Breunig, Sam Nixon

Book Reviews Editor:
Jonathan R. Walz, USA

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
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:
Nikolas Gestrich, UK
Gaby Franke, Germany
Annabelle Gallin, France
Richard Byer, Germany

Editorial Assistance:
Anna Rybar, Germany
Carlos Magnavita, Germany


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