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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 (2) 2004

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F. Jesse, S. Kröpelin, M. Lange, N. Pöllath & H. Berke

On the periphery of Kerma - The Handessi Horizon in Wadi Hariq, Northwestern Sudan

Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 2 (2), 2004, pages 123-164, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10025

Abstract
Wadi Hariq is a complex valley system in the Northwest Sudan about 400 km west of the Nile. Stratigraphic investigations provide new data on the environmental and climatic history of the present-day hyperarid centre of the southeastern Sahara. Archaeological work there only started at the end of the 1990s, with a survey and excavations carried out as part of the multidisciplinary research project ACACIA of the University of Cologne. To date, 104 sites are known in the Wadi Hariq. Based on the pottery found at these sites, most can be attributed to the Handessi Horizon, the former Geometric Pottery Horizon, of the eastern Sahara. Geometric patterns, and also mat impressions, are characteristic of the Handessi Horizon (ca 2200 – 1100 BC). The subsistence of these prehistoric inhabitants was based on the herding of cattle and small livestock. Transhumance cycles included areas further north (Laqiya region) and south (Wadi Howar), and perhaps even the Nile Valley has to be considered. Similar decorative patterns have been found in all these areas. Evidence of an even earlier human presence in the Wadi Hariq during the Holocene is provided by several sherds decorated with Dotted Wavy Line and Laqiya-type patterns as well as some fragments of rippled-ware pottery.

Résumé
Le Ouadi Hariq, situé au nord-ouest du Soudan, environ 400 km à l'ouest de la vallée du Nil, est un vaste ensemble de vallées. Les analyses stratigraphiques des dépôts lacustres fournissent de nouvelles données sur l'évolution environnementale et climatique dans le centre hyperaride du sud-est du Sahara. Ce n'est qu'à la fin des années 1990 que des investigations archéologiques y ont été conduites, au travers de prospections et de fouilles initiées par le projet pluridisciplinaire ACACIA de l'Université de Cologne. Cent quatre sites archéologiques ont été découverts à ce jour. La céramique permet d'attribuer la plupart d'entre eux à l'horizon Handessi (environ 2200 – 1100 BC) du Sahara oriental : elle est caractérisée par la présence de décors géométriques ainsi que d'impressions de natte. Les groupes humains pratiquaient le pastoralisme et leurs troupeaux étaient constitués de bovidés et de petit bétail (moutons et chèvres). Il est possible d'envisager des cycles de transhumance incluant à la fois des régions localisées plus au nord (Laqiya) et plus au sud (Ouadi Howar) et probablement la vallée du Nil car on y a retrouvé des décors céramiques similaires. La présence plus ancienne de groupes humains dans le Ouadi Hariq est attestée pour l'Holocène grâce à la découverte de quelques tessons au décor de Dotted Wavy Line et de type Laqiya ainsi que des fragments de vases rippled ware.




Keywords: archaeozoology, climate change, Handessi Horizon, Holocene, northwestern Sudan, pottery, Sahara


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