African Studies Archaeology of Central Africa
by
Pierre de Maret
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0154

Introduction

Centered in the basin of the Congo River, the second most powerful river in the world, Central Africa is usually considered archaeologically to comprise the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (previously the Belgian Congo and later Zaire), Cameroon, southern Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, and, eventually, Zambia, or at least its northern part. This vast territory of more than six million square kilometers (ten times the size of France, or the size of the United States east of the Mississippi) remains archaeologically one of the least known areas in the world, even though research started early, at the beginning of the colonial era. The eleven countries that exist in the early 21st century are the result of the conflicting policies of almost all the colonial powers of the late 19th century. Scientifically, the result was a dispersion of efforts and a diversity of publications with limited distribution. On the whole, those powers neglected the scientific study of their possessions in Central Africa, except Belgium, which had no other colonies. The rain forest covering one-third of Central Africa is second only to the Amazon. The difficulties of working in such an environment, as well as underdeveloped or dilapidated infrastructure, political instability, and chronic civil wars, explain why the area has been the subject of only limited archaeological research since independence. However, adaptive research strategies in key areas of the Congo basin in the 1970s and, more recently, in the northwest (Cameroon, Gabon) have yielded a great deal of information on ancient occupation, mostly during the last four millennia. Archaeological data are increasingly supplemented by linguistics, history, ethnography, and genetics, the closer one gets to the early 21st century. In general, publications on Central Africa are very descriptive, in part because of the sparseness of data in most areas and in part because of research traditions stressing empirical evidence over grand theoretical debate. At the center of the continent, the various archaeological traditions show similarities with those of adjacent areas to the east, west, and south. Contrary to those areas, very little is known about the earliest prehistory of Central Africa, owing to the relative lack of well-excavated sites. Flaked cobblestones have been reported in various locations, but their precise age remains unknown. The Acheulean technology that followed c. 1.7 million years ago in eastern Africa is only present later on the southern fringe of the Congo basin, in northern Angola, Katanga, and Zambia. The post-Acheulean stone industries of Central Africa are characterized by the continuation of bifacial techniques, called Sangoan, followed in the Pleistocene (Middle Stone Age) by the Lupemban and in the Holocene by the Tshitolian. This Late Stone Age industry extended in Atlantic Central Africa from Gabon to northern Angola, whereas in the east, the Late Stone Age industries are related to those in eastern Africa. Around the end of the 2nd millennium BCE a major change took place in the northwest of Central Africa, with the appearance of agriculture, pottery, the first villages, and, probably a little later, iron metallurgy. As this area is also, linguistically, the homeland of all the Bantu languages, which eventually spread all the way to southern Africa, the possible correlation between these phenomena has been hotly debated. Once those Early Iron Age agriculturalists had gradually settled in the whole area, they developed into hundreds of various ethnolinguistic groups. Archaeology sheds light on how some of those groups became powerful polities and kingdoms, well documented by ethnographers and historians. This article is organized following the usual, although debatable, broad chronological phases, from the Early Stone Age through the Late Iron Age, with the addition of specific sections, including Countries Overview, History of Research, Paleoenvironment, Bantu Migration, Rock Art, Megaliths, Ethnoarchaeology, and Cultural Heritage Management.

General Overviews

Most of the works dealing with the archaeology of Central Africa have originally been written in French, and only one, Lanfranchi and Clist 1991, presents an overview of the whole region. Although written in the late 20th century, this text still contains a good survey of our knowledge, given the lack of more recent excavations in many areas. Even older, but still useful for the same reason, van Noten 1982 is the only thorough synthesis in English. Books that cover the archaeology, or rock art, of Africa have generally overlooked more or less completely the center of the continent, with some noticeable exceptions, such as Phillipson 2005, Connah 2004, and Connah 2008. The latter two, along with Cornevin 1998, in French, are general introductions designed for first-year students and the general public. In addition, two edited books on the archaeology of Africa, Stahl 2005 and Mitchell and Lane 2013, provide, thanks to several chapters, a very detailed introduction to Central African archaeology. From colonial times until the 1970s most works appeared in series linked to the few research institutions active in the area and in a wide variety of journals, but with often limited circulation. Many excavation results have only been dealt with in doctoral or master’s theses and, increasingly, in reports on rescue archaeology. Most of those unpublished works are deposited in the relevant universities and museums, with the Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, in Tervuren, Belgium, serving as the major repository of this “gray” literature concerning that part of Africa. The Bibliography on Central Africa’s Archaeology offers online the most thorough listing of all the relevant articles, books, and doctoral dissertations and is continually updated.

  • Clist, Bernard, ed. Bibliography on Central Africa’s Archaeology.

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    This almost exhaustive bibliography was started with Raymond Lanfranchi, at the Centre International des Civilisations Bantu, in Libreville. A most useful tool organized by country, with sections on paleoenvironment, new publications, and the region as a whole. Not covered, however, are Chad, Rwanda, Burundi, and Zambia.

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    • Connah, Graham. Forgotten Africa: An Introduction to Its Archaeology. London: Routledge, 2004.

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      A short and very readable summary of Africa’s past for a general audience and beginning students by an eminent figure in African archaeology. Well illustrated, in black and white.

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      • Connah, Graham. Afrique oubliée: Une introduction à l’archéologie du continent. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2008.

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        Originally published in 2004, as Forgotten Africa: An Introduction to Its Archaeology (Paris: L’Harmattan) (see Connah 2004).

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        • Cornevin, Marianne. Secrets du continent noir révélés par l’archéologie. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1998.

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          Originally published in 1993, as Archéologie africaine (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose), this brief and well-illustrated overview of African archaeology by a nonprofessional was completely revised but got an unnecessarily sensationalist title in the process.

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          • Lanfranchi, Raymond, and Bernard Clist, eds. Aux origines de l’Afrique centrale. Paris: Sépia, 1991.

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            The catalogue for an exhibition in Libreville, this text remains the only overview of Central African archaeology, with more than fifty brief chapters authored by most of the specialists of the time. Numerous illustrations, but of poor quality. Rwanda, Burundi, northern Cameroon, and Zambia are not considered.

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            • Mitchell, Peter, and Paul Lane, eds. The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

              DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199569885.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A massive handbook, with several chapters dedicated to Central Africa. Provides the best overview of the state of our knowledge in the early 21st century. A primary reference source, with seventy chapters, written by a large array of archaeologists actively engaged in research. Well illustrated, in black and white, with a detailed bibliography.

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              • van Noten, Francis L., ed. The Archaeology of Central Africa. Graz, Austria: Akademische Drück-und Verlagsantstalt, 1982.

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                Centered on what was then Zaire and is, in the early 21st century, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this coauthored book synthesizes the results of a decade of fieldwork by archaeologists from the Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale and their colleagues from the Institut des Museés Nationaux du Zaïre. Remains the only book in English devoted to the archaeology of Central Africa. Beautifully illustrated, with a bibliography that was almost exhaustive at the time of publication.

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                • Phillipson, David W. African Archaeology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511800313Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Originally published in 1985 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). For many years, the most authoritative, concise, and yet detailed survey of the archaeology of Africa as a whole, yet with comprehensive discussions of Central Africa, the author having worked for many years in Zambia. Fully illustrated, with a comprehensive bibliography. Revised and expanded several times.

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                  • Stahl, Ann Brower. African Archaeology: A Critical Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

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                    A multiauthored introduction to the archaeology of Africa that critically highlights the research questions and critiques the evidence. A most useful text for advanced students and researchers alike. Has an extensive bibliography but few illustrations.

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                    Journals

                    There has never been a journal dedicated to or focused on the archaeology of this immense region. A number of colonial and European journals have published results of the research, mostly in French. Since 1970 the Journal of African Archaeology, African Archaeological Review, and Azania, along with Nyame Akuma (a newsletter), have published most of the primary research. In the 1970’s and 1980s the Journal of African History also published the results of archaeological research, when relevant to historians, as well as useful overviews of radiocarbon dates. Since colonial times there has also been a series of journals, often ephemeral, published locally, with very limited circulation and hard to find.

                    Countries Overview

                    In addition to general works encompassing Central Africa, a few books on specific countries, such as Ervedosa 1980, on Angola; Essomba 1992 and Delneuf, et al. 1998, on Cameroon; Bayle des Hermens 1975, on the Central African Republic (CAR); Clist 1995, on Gabon; and van Noten 1983, on Rwanda, offer surveys at the national level.

                    • Bayle des Hermens, Roger de. Recherches préhistoriques en République Centrafricaine. Paris: Klincksieck, 1975.

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                      Based on the author’s extensive surveys, the only overview of the archaeology of this landlocked and poorly studied country.

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                      • Clist, Bernard. Gabon: 100.000 ans d’histoire. Paris: Sépia, 1995.

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                        A detailed overview of archaeological research and its history in this country, with numerous tables of radiocarbon dates, maps, and reprints of previous works by amateurs.

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                        • Delneuf, Michèle, Joseph-Marie Essomba, and Alain Froment, eds. Paléo-anthropologie en Afrique centrale: Un bilan de l’archéologie au Cameroun. Papers presented at a conference held in Yaoundé, 1994. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998.

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                          This book assesses, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the state of archaeology in the country. The book’s twenty-three papers (with English abstracts) are regrouped into broad topics: physical anthropology, archaeology and environment, regional synthesis, and the contributions of the social sciences.

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                          • Ervedosa, Carlos. Arqueología angolana. Lisbon, Portugal: Ministerio da Educaçao, 1980.

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                            A large volume on the various aspects of archaeology and rock art in Angola. Numerous black-and-white photographs and drawings. Manual Gutierrez produced a critical edition in French translation, “Traduction et critique de Arqueología Angolana de Carlos Ervedosa” (MA thesis, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, 1987).

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                            • Essomba, Joseph-Marie, ed. L’archéologie au Cameroun: Actes du premier colloque international de Yaoundé, 6–9 janvier 1986. Paris: Karthala, 1992.

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                              Provides an inventory of ongoing research in the country at the time, with interesting views on public archaeology and cultural heritage management.

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                              • van Noten, Francis L., ed. Histoire archéologique du Rwanda. Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, 1983.

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                                A short synthesis, mainly of the author’s own research, with many appendixes by various specialists. Well illustrated, with plenty of maps, photographs, and drawings.

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                                History of Research

                                Research started early in Central Africa, as the first European explorers collected stone artifacts in the late 19th century. The first book exclusively devoted to the prehistory of Sub-Saharan Africa was Stainier 1899. Between the two world wars, Oswald Menghin proposed to see in the “Tumbian” a new cultural stage typical of more recently chronicled Central African prehistory, but based on surface finds (Menghin 1931). In contrast, Jean Colette set an example by starting the first systematic excavation, with careful recording of findings and use of statistics (Colette 1935), probably a first for world prehistory as well. South of Lake Chad, Jean-Paul Lebeuf discovered terracotta figurines (Lebeuf 1937). After the war, J. Desmond Clark carried out research on the prehistory of northern Angola (Clark 1963). Bantu migrations became a major topic of research (Vansina 1979), and large Iron Age cemeteries were excavated in central Katanga (Nenquin 1963). A detailed account of the development of archaeological research in Central Africa before 1985, with relevant bibliography, is provided in Maret 1990, whereas Cornelissen 2013 discusses, in view of the past and the situation in the early 21st century, the potential of rescue archaeology in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

                                • Clark, J. Desmond. Prehistoric Cultures of Northeast Angola and Their Significance in Tropical Africa. Lisbon, Portugal: Museu do Dondo, 1963.

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                                  One of the first overviews of a key area of Central Africa with respect to the Stone Age, by a prominent prehistorian, with useful comparisons with other areas of the continent. It suggested that the core axes from the Lupemban stone industry were probably linked to woodworking.

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                                  • Colette, Jean. “Complexes et convergences en préhistoire.” Bulletin de la Société royale belge d’anthropologie et de préhistoire 1 (1935): 49–192.

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                                    A useful early summary of the prehistory of the DRC by someone who set an example by the quality of his excavations, his presentation of results, and his quantitative analysis.

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                                    • Cornelissen, Els. “Archaeology in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Old and Current Strategies for Ancient Issues.” In European Archaeology Abroad: Global Settings, Comparative Perspectives. Edited by Sjoerd J. van der Linden, Monique H. van den Dries, Nathan N. Schlanger, and Corijanne G. Slappendel, 205–222. Leiden, The Netherlands: Sidestone, 2013.

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                                      Gives an overview of the state of archaeological research in the DRC and suggests that rescue archaeology offers an opportunity to enable local cultural heritage managers to identify research and conservation priorities.

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                                      • Lebeuf, Jean-Paul. “Rapport sur les travaux de la 4e mission Griaule.” Journal de la Société des africanistes 7 (1937): 213–219.

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                                        This article on the so-called Sao Civilisation, in southern Chad, marks the start of the use of archaeology to study the past of local populations in the region and made the Sao famous.

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                                        • Maret, Pierre de. “Phases and Facies in the Archaeology of Central Africa.” In A History of African Archaeology. Edited by Peter Robertshaw, 109–134. London: Currey, 1990.

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                                          This chapter provides the only overview of the history of archaeology—its various characters and their debates—in the Congo and its environs, up until the 1980s.

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                                          • Menghin, Oswald. Weltgeschichte der Steinzeit. Vienna: Schroll, 1931.

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                                            The first global synthesis of the Stone Age. This book proposed a reclassification of prehistoric cultures, with the Tumbian, or ‘Tumbakultur, named after Tumba, in lower Congo, becoming a major “pig-raiser-culture” stage worldwide. This theory, and the ensuing debates on terminology, will only be put to rest in 1947.

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                                            • Nenquin, Jacques. Excavations at Sanga, 1957: The Protohistoric Necropolis. Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, 1963.

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                                              The first of a series of books on the graveyards in the Upemba Depression. The book’s many fine drawings illustrate well the riches of these tombs during the Iron Age. This work made the Sanga site famous.

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                                              • Stainier, Xavier. L’âge de la Pierre au Congo. Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, 1899.

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                                                This book, the first of its kind on the stone tools of Africa, summarizes the results of the first decade of prehistoric discoveries in what was still the Congo Free State. Illustrated by large plates of sepia photographs.

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                                                • Vansina, Jan. “Bantu in the Crystal Ball, I.” History in Africa 6 (1979): 287–333.

                                                  DOI: 10.2307/3171750Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  These two successive articles present an in-depth historiography of more than a century of the various hypotheses regarding the so-called Bantu migration. Article continues in History in Africa 7 (1980): 293–325.

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                                                  Paleoenvironment

                                                  Climate change and resulting geomorphological environmental phenomena and fluctuations, described in works such as Maley and Brenac 1998 and Elenga, et al. 2004, have been used to evaluate the age of various prehistoric phases and to ascertain subsistence patterns in relation to local vegetation in a given period (Schwartz 1992) and, more recently, to explain population movements within what is, in the early 21st century, the Equatorial rainforest (Oslisly, et al. 2013). Some data have also been used as evidence of humans’ impact on vegetation and large-scale deforestation (Bayon et al. 2012), but this perspective has been criticized, for example, in Neumann, et al. 2012. Useful reviews at the time of relevant studies were done in Lanfranchi and Schwartz 1990 and later in Servant and Servant-Vildary 2000.

                                                  • Bayon, Germain, Bernard Dennielou, Joël Etoubleau, Emmanuel Ponzevera, Samuel Toucanne, and Sylvain Bermell. “Intensifying Weathering and Land Use in Iron Age Central Africa.” Science 335.6073 (2012): 1219–1222.

                                                    DOI: 10.1126/science.1215400Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Based on a discrepancy in the geochemical results of a marine sediment record recovered off the estuary of the Congo River, suggests that Bantu-speaking farmers were responsible for large-scale deforestation. This explanation is deemed unconvincing by many studies, such as Neumann, et al. 2012.

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                                                    • Elenga, Hilaire, Jean Maley, Annie Vincens, and Isabelle Farrera. “Paleoenvironments, Palaeoclimates and Landscape Developments in Central Equatorial Africa: A Review of Major Terrestrial Key Sites Covering the Last 25 kyrs.” In Past Climate Variability through Europe and Africa. Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research. Edited by Richard W. Battarbee, Françoise Gasse, and Catherine Stickley, 181–198. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2004.

                                                      DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-2121-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      The fragmentation of the Congolese forests is interpreted as a response to arid periods in Central Africa.

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                                                      • Lanfranchi, Raymond, and Dominique Schwartz, eds. Paysages quaternaires de l’Afrique centrale atlantique. Paris: Éditions de l’ORSTOM, 1990.

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                                                        The only overview, in fifty chapters (with English summaries), written by various specialists, with sections on geography, littoral and marine environments, surface geodynamics, paleofauna and flora, and prehistoric as well as protohistoric human impact on landscapes. Neglects the northern, eastern, and southern parts of the region. A detailed bibliography follows each chapter.

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                                                        • Maley, Jean, and Patrice Brenac. “Vegetation Dynamics, Paleoenvironments and Climatic Changes in the Forests of Western Cameroon during the Last 28,000 Years B.P.” Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 99 (1998): 157–188.

                                                          DOI: 10.1016/S0034-6667(97)00047-XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          One of the earliest syntheses based on pollen records of lakes.

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                                                          • Neumann, Katharina, Manfred K. H. Eggert, Richard Oslisly, et al. “Comment on Intensifying Weathering and Land Use in Iron Age Central Africa.” Science 337.6098 (2012): 1040.

                                                            DOI: 10.1126/science.1221747Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Argues that all terrestrial evidence points to climate change as the major factor in forest degradation rather than the intensive use of land by Bantu farmers at that time.

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                                                            • Oslisly, Richard, Lee White, Ilham Bentaleb, et al. “Climatic and Cultural Changes in the West Congo Basin Forests over the Past 5000 Years.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 368 (2013).

                                                              DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0304Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              A very useful regional synthesis of the evidence regarding the consequences of the interaction between humans, climate, and vegetation during the last five millennia and their effect on modern vegetation patterns and African forest conservation.

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                                                              • Schwartz, Dominique. “Assèchement climatique vers 3.000 B.P. et expansion bantu en Afrique centrale atlantique: Quelques réflexions.” Bulletin de la Société géologique de France 163.3 (1992): 353–361.

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                                                                The first article proposing that the replacement of the forest by patches of savannah, resulting from increasing aridity, could have facilitated the forest’s penetration by Bantu immigrants from the north.

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                                                                • Servant, Michel, and Simone Servant-Vildary, eds. Dynamique à long terme des écosystèmes forestiers intertropicaux. Papers presented at a conference held in Paris, 20–22 March 1996. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2000.

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                                                                  Proceedings of a conference on the influence of climate change and human activity in the rainforests of the world, with a focus on the dynamics of the forest ecosystems of western Central Africa.

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                                                                  Stone Age

                                                                  If, archaeologically, Central Africa is one of the least known areas in the world, this is particularly true for the Stone Age. Many sites have been reported since the late 19th century, but they are mostly surface finds of only stone artifacts, often mixed by erosion, undated, and undetailed. Our knowledge in the early 21st century is based on the few sites that have been systematically excavated, generally providing a long occupational sequence, often spanning to the Iron Age. This serves as a somewhat patchy framework of the various prehistoric phases and their related stone industries. Clockwise, from the north, there is the Shum Laka rock shelter, in northwestern Cameroon, analyzed in Lavachery 2001; the Matupi cave, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), studied in van Noten 1977; Ishango, in the DRC, on the shore of Lake Edward, reexcavated in Brooks and Smith 1987; Kalambo Falls, in northern Zambia, discussed in great detail in Clark 2001; Kamoa, in Katanga, excavated in Cahen 1975; and Gombe Point, in Kinshasa, reinvestigated in Cahen 1976. There is no fossil evidence for hominine evolution in any part of the region before Homo sapiens, except in Ishango and, outside the scope of this review, in northern Chad. Overall, the very flimsy record improves gradually with the end of the Pleistocene and the onset of the Holocene. Cornelissen 2013 gives the best overview of this latter phase of the prehistoric evolution.

                                                                  • Brooks, Alison, and Catherine C. Smith. “Ishango Revisited: New Age Determinations and Cultural Interpretations.” African Archaeological Review 5 (1987): 65–78.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/BF01117083Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Previously excavated in the 1950s, the late Pleistocene levels of Ishango have been dated back c. twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand years. They contained a quartz microlithic assemblage and bone tools, including small harpoons as well as two engraved bone handles, considered by some the oldest manifestation of mathematical thought.

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                                                                    • Cahen, Daniel. Le site archéologique de la Kamoa (région du Shaba, République du Zaïre) de l’Âge de la Pierre Ancienne à l’Âge du Fer. Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, 1975.

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                                                                      With Kalambo Falls to the east, the only Acheulean site excavated in Central Africa. Offers a long sequence of occupation up to the recent past, with several radiocarbon dates for the more recent period. Unfortunately, the Acheulean was not in primary context. Numerous plates, line drawings, and tables.

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                                                                      • Cahen, Daniel. “Nouvelles fouilles à la pointe de la Gombe (ex-pointe de Kalina), Kinshasa, Zaïre.” L’Anthropologie 80.4 (1976): 573–602.

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                                                                        Previous excavations by Jean Colette (see Colette 1935, cited under History of Research) had produced a unique sequence of industries, from the Middle Stone Age to the Late Stone Age, surmounted by Iron Age layers. New excavations and systematic refitting of artifacts from different depths revealed major disturbances in this type of sand.

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                                                                        • Clark, J. Desmond. Kalambo Falls Prehistoric Site. Vol. 3, Earlier Cultures: Middle and Earlier Stone Age. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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                                                                          The last of three detailed volumes on the excavation of one of the most famous sites in Africa, with an exceptionally long sequence, from the Acheulean to the Late Iron Age.

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                                                                          • Cornelissen, Els. “Hunting and Gathering in Africa’s Tropical Forests at the End of the Pleistocene and in the Early Holocene.” In The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Edited by Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane, 403–417. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199569885.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Contains the most comprehensive and critical summary on the Equatorial rainforest.

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                                                                            • Lavachery, Philippe. “The Holocene Archaeological Sequence of Shum Laka Rock Shelter (Grassfields, Western Cameroon).” African Archaeological Review 18.4 (2001): 213–247.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1023/A:1013114008855Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Describes the upper part of the Shum Laka sequence, with the appearance of a Holocene macrolithic and polished stone tools and pottery.

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                                                                              • van Noten, Francis. “Excavations at Matupi Cave.” Antiquity 51 (1977): 35–40.

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                                                                                This site yielded a long sequence of mostly microlithic quartz industry associated with faunal remains of game living usually in an open environment dating back to the late Pleistocene.

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                                                                                Early Stone Age

                                                                                Pre-Acheulean industries, with pebble tools comparable to those of the Oldowan, have been described in various areas, but little firm data exist on stratigraphic position and true age. Asombang 1991 summarizes what has been attributed to this period in Cameroon. In the nearby Central Africa Republic (CAR), sites have also been attributed to the pre-Acheulean (Bayle des Hermens 1975), as in southern Angola (Ramos 1991). The Acheulean is present only at the periphery of the Congo basin. The period has been detailed in Angola and CAR and has been well studied at Kamoa, in the DRC (Cahen 1975, cited under Stone Age) and at Kalambo Falls, in Zambia (Clark 2001, cited under Stone Age). Guttierez, et al. 2010 deals with scavenging activities on a large cetacean remains on the coast of Angola. Lanfranchi 1991 offers a brief synthesis of the Early Stone Age in the region.

                                                                                • Asombang, Raymond. “Âges de la Pierre Ancien et Moyen: Cameroun.” In Aux origines de l’Afrique centrale. Edited by Raymond Lanfranchi and Bernard Clist, 56–59. Paris: Sépia, 1991.

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                                                                                  A brief overview of what was reported in that country.

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                                                                                  • Bayle des Hermens, Roger de. Recherches préhistoriques en République Centrafricaine. Paris: Klincksieck, 1975.

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                                                                                    This book, the only one devoted to CAR prehistory, gathers data collected by the author after several surveys in that country.

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                                                                                    • Guttierez, Manuel, Claude Guerin, Claudine Karlin, et al. “Recherches archéologiques à Dungo (Angola): Un site de charognage de baleine de plus d’un million d’années.” La revue Afrique: Archéologie et Arts 6 (2010): 25–47.

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                                                                                      Several stone artifacts in close association with a whale skeleton have been dated between one and two million years ago on this ancient beach south of Lobito, on the Atlantic coast.

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                                                                                      • Lanfranchi, Raymond. “Synthèse régionale des Âges de la Pierre Ancien et Moyen.” In Aux origines de l’Afrique centrale. Edited by Raymond Lanfranchi and Bernard Clist, 88–90. Paris: Sépia, 1991.

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                                                                                        A brief survey of what was then available for the Early and Middle Stone Age time.

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                                                                                        • Ramos, Miguel. “Âges de la Pierre Ancien et Moyen: Angola.” In Aux origines de l’Afrique centrale. Edited by Raymond Lanfranchi and Bernard Clist, 82–87. Paris: Sépia, 1991.

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                                                                                          An overview of what was then known in this country.

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                                                                                          Middle Stone Age

                                                                                          The oldest post-Acheulean industries of Central Africa received the name Sangoan, but its characteristics are far from clear. It is followed by an industry called the Lupemban, which has been dated back more than two hundred thirty thousand years, in Zambia, (Barham and Smart 1996). In western Central Africa, the prehistoric sequence is more vague, and Cahen 1978 has suggested simply grouping all the previously defined industries into a single post-Acheulean complex, often called the Sangoan-Lupemban Industrial Complex. Core axes and bifacial lancedate are distinctive of the Lupemban and have been found in many locations in Central Africa. They may have been used for woodworking, but also to dig up tubers in the rainforest. Environmental evidence supports the idea that Middle Stone Age groups subsisted in the rainforest, such as the Mosumu, in Equatorial Guinea, excavated in Mercader 2003. For the Lupemban, Taylor 2011 presents a critical view of our knowledge. In the Semliki Valley, in eastern DRC, the sites of Katanda are dated back seventy to eighty thousand years ago in Brooks, et al. 1995, which also looks at its remarkable bone industry.

                                                                                          • Barham, Lawrence S., and Peter L. Smart. “An Early Date for the Middle Stone Age of Central Zambia.” Journal of Human Evolution 30 (1996): 587–590.

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                                                                                            A rarity: a date for a Middle Stone Age site, albeit one at the southern edge of Central Africa.

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                                                                                            • Brooks, Alison S., David M. Helgren, Jon S. Cramer, et al. “Dating and Context of Three Middle Stone Age Sites with Bone Points in the Upper Semliki Valley, Zaire.” Science 268.5210 (1995): 548–553.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1126/science.7725099Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              At the Katanda sites rather crude Middle Stone Age stone artifacts are associated with several remarkable finds, such as bone point with barbs on one side and fish bones.

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                                                                                              • Cahen, Daniel. “Vers une révision de la nomenclature des industries préhistoriques de l’Afrique Centrale.” L’Anthropologie 82 (1978): 5–36.

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                                                                                                Casts doubt on the previous chronotypology after a painstaking effort to refit artifacts demonstrated the mixture in the sand of originally superimposed layers. This pessimistic conclusion discouraged prehistoric research in this area for a while.

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                                                                                                • Mercader, Julio, ed. Under the Canopy. The Archaeology of Tropical Rain Forests. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                  This book argues in favor of an early Pleistocene settlement of Equatorial forests around the world, with two chapters describing key sites near the Atlantic, in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, and in the Ituri Forest of eastern DRC.

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                                                                                                  • Taylor, Nicholas. “The Origins of Hunting and Gathering in the Congo Basin: A Perspective on the Middle Stone Age Lupemban Industry.” Before Farming, no. 1 (2011): 1–20.

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                                                                                                    This article offers a critical assessment of the available data and an overview of issues that continue to beset the Lupemban.

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                                                                                                    Late Stone Age

                                                                                                    During the Holocene the Tshitolian represents the last stage of the bifacial tradition to the west of the Congo basin, from northern Angola to Gabon. The Tshitolian has been found at several open-air sites, such as the one studied in Cahen and Mortelmans 1973. At Ntadi Yomba rock shelter, analyzed in van Neer and Lanfranchi 1985, the Tshitolian is dated back seven thousand years. In other parts of Central Africa, microlithic quartz industries, which started in the Late Pleistocene and lasted until the Holocene, have been described in Shum Laka (Cornelissen 2003), at the center of the Congo basin (Fiedler and Preuss 1985), and in several other locations (Kamuanga 1991). Casey 2005 (West and Central Africa) and, more recently, Cornelissen 2013 (Central Africa) provide useful overviews of the evidence. In Shum Laka, basalt started to be used c. seven thousand years ago for a macrolithic industry that included blades and a bifacial axe-hoe, according to Lavachery 2001 (cited under Stone Age). Evidence of funerary practices has also been described in Ribot, et al. 2001, beginning at approximately the same time.

                                                                                                    • Cahen, Daniel, and Georges Mortelmans. Un site tshitolien sur le plateau des Bateke (République du Zaïre). Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, 1973.

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                                                                                                      The most detailed study of a Tshitolian assemblage, from an open-air site on the sand plateau east of Kinshasa.

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                                                                                                      • Casey, Johanna. “Holocene Occupations of the Forest and Savannah.” In African Archaeology: A Critical Introduction. Edited by Ann Brower Stahl, 225–241. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

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                                                                                                        A short and useful overview of evidence in Central Africa in relation to West Africa.

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                                                                                                        • Cornelissen, Els. “On Microlithic Quartz Industries at the End of the Pleistocene in Central Africa: The Evidence from Shum Laka (NW Cameroon).” African Archaeological Review 20.1 (2003): 1–24.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1023/A:1022830321377Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Draws an interesting parallel between this long microlithic quartz sequence and similar ones in Central Africa.

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                                                                                                          • Cornelissen, Els. “Hunting and Gathering in Africa’s Tropical Forests at the End of the Pleistocene and in the Early Holocene.” In The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Edited by Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane, 403–417. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199569885.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Provides a thorough synthesis of our knowledge of the area, including the results of genetic studies of human populations.

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                                                                                                            • Fiedler, Lutz, and Johannes Preuss. “Stone Tools from the Inner Zaire Basin (Région de l’Equateur, Zaïre).” African Archaeological Review 3 (1985): 179–187.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/BF01117460Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              The first of only two assemblages of lithic artifacts on quartz and quartzite to be recovered from the inner Congo basin.

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                                                                                                              • Kamuanga, Muya wa Bitanko. “Age de la Pierre Récent: Zaïre.” In Aux origines de l’Afrique centrale. Edited by Raymond Lanfranchi and Bernard Clist, 115–122. Paris: Sépia, 1991.

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                                                                                                                A useful and well-illustrated general survey of the Late Stone Age in the DRC.

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                                                                                                                • van Neer, Wim, and Raymond Lanfranchi. “Étude de la faune découverte dans l’abri Tshitolien de Ntadi Yomba (RP Congo).” L’Anthropologie 89.3 (1985): 351–364.

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                                                                                                                  This study of the faunal remains gives for this country the most detailed account of a Tshitolian assemblage in a rock shelter, a more secure context than open-air sites.

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                                                                                                                  • Ribot, Isabelle, Rosine Orban, and Pierre de Maret. The Prehistoric Burials of Shum Laka Rockshelter (North-West Cameroon). Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, 2001.

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                                                                                                                    Skeletons from two successive phases, dated back c. seven thousand and three thousand years, respectively, were studied in this rock shelter in the Bantu homeland. Evidence of elaborate funerary practices.

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                                                                                                                    Transition from Stone to Metal

                                                                                                                    Transition phases are difficult to grasp, and the term Neolithic, often employed, denotes the use of polished stone tools and ceramics as well as food production. In Central Africa these three elements did not come as a single package. Subsistence strategies are still poorly documented from that time and, in any case, varied widely. In addition, as noted in Lavachery 2001 and Clist 2006, stone artifacts often disappear in the archaeological record without being replaced for a time by iron ones. This is why the term Stone to Metal Age (SMA) is increasingly being used, until this is clarified. Works mentioned here often cover the variable time span between the Late Stone Age and a well-established Iron Age. Many of the more recent and detailed works (Clist 2005, Gouem Gouem 2011, Nlend Nlend 2013) are unpublished doctoral dissertations from the Université libre de Bruxelles. The published works, such as Assoko Ndong 2002 and Mbida 1998, frequently summarize parts of these dissertations.

                                                                                                                    • Assoko Ndong, Alain. “Synthèse des données archéologiques récentes sur le peuplement à l’Holocène de la réserve de faune de la Lopé, Gabon.” L’Anthropologie 106.1 (2002): 135–158.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/S0003-5521(02)01083-XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Provides a detailed archaeological sequence of SMA and Early Iron Age occupation of this savannah area at the center of the rainforest in Gabon, with early evidence of sheep or goat domestication. A summary of the author’s doctoral dissertation.

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                                                                                                                      • Clist, Bernard. Des premiers villages aux premiers européens autour de l’estuaire du Gabon: Quatre millénaires d’interactions entre l’homme et son milieu. PhD diss., Université libre de Bruxelles, 2005.

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                                                                                                                        Gives a comprehensive overview of the research on several sites around Libreville by the author and previous researchers, with a well-dated sequence and how it relates to similar findings in neighboring countries. Unpublished, but much of the data are available in Clist 1995 (cited under Countries Overview).

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                                                                                                                        • Clist, Bernard. “Mais où se sont taillées nos pierres en Afrique Centrale entre 7.000 et 2.000 BP?” In Grundlegungen. Beiträge zur europäischen und afrikanischen Archäologie für Manfred K. H. Eggert. Edited by Hans-Peter Wotzka, 291–302. Tübingen, Germany: Francke Attempto Verlag, 2006.

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                                                                                                                          Discusses the gap in the archaeological record between the disappearance of stone artifacts and the appearance of iron use and production.

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                                                                                                                          • Gouem Gouem, Bienvenu. “Des premières communautés villageoises aux sociétés complexes sur le littoral méridional du Cameroun.” PhD diss., Université libre de Bruxelles, 2011.

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                                                                                                                            The first attempt to synthesize in a single sequence the results of several excavations on the southern Cameroonian coast.

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                                                                                                                            • Lavachery, Philippe. “The Holocene Archaeological Sequence of Shum Laka Rock Shelter (Grassfields, Western Cameroon).” African Archaeological Review 18.4 (2001): 213–247.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1023/A:1013114008855Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Endorses the term Stone to Metal Age to describe the transition phase in the Shum Laka sequence. Based on the author’s 1998 doctoral dissertation.

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                                                                                                                              • Mbida, Christophe. “Premières communautés villageoises au Sud du Cameroun: Synthèse et données nouvelles.” In Paléo-anthropologie en Afrique centrale: Un bilan de l’archéologie au Cameroun. Edited by Michèle Delneuf, Joseph-Marie Essomba, and Alain Froment, 203–211. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                Based on the author’s own excavation, for his doctorate, of a site north of Yaoundé, a survey of evidence of the first villages, in the center and the south of Cameroon.

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                                                                                                                                • Nlend Nlend, Pascal. “Les traditions céramiques dans leur contexte archéologique sur le littoral camerounais (Kribi-Campo) de 3000 à 500 BP.” PhD diss., Université libre de Bruxelles, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                  Overlaps with Gouem Gouem 2011, but with additional data incorporated into a detailed discussion of the duration and nature of this period of transition. Suggests regrouping various facies into a single tradition.

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                                                                                                                                  Bantu Migration

                                                                                                                                  Spread over much of Africa, the dispersion of the numerous Bantu languages has generated a great deal of research and debate over the last two centuries, as analyzed in Vansina 1979 (cited under History of Research). As the origin of these languages traces back to northwest Cameroon, from where they dispersed south and east, it is in the northwestern quarter of Central Africa that the first stages of their expansion took place. It was postulated that the appearance of pottery and iron in the archaeological record was related to the arrival of the Bantu, and thus Phillipson 1976 proposed that their migration followed two routes: a western and an eastern stream. Eggert 2005 is very critical of the underlying assumptions, whereas Vansina 1995 questions the very idea of migration and puts forth a wave model of dispersal. However, supported by molecular anthropology, Pakendorf, et al. 2011 suggests that there was indeed movement of peoples and not just of languages. Over the years, a series of multidisciplinary conferences on the Bantu phenomenon were organized. Obenga 1989 collects the proceedings of the last one. A summary of those issues is provided in Maret 2013.

                                                                                                                                  • Eggert, Manfred K. H. “The Bantu Problem and African Archaeology.” In African Archaeology: A Critical Introduction. Edited by Ann Brower Stahl, 301–326. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                    A very critical overview of previous assumptions and of the dangers of circular reasoning when mixing concepts and methods from various disciplines.

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                                                                                                                                    • Maret, Pierre de. “Archaeologies of the Bantu Expansion.” In The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Edited by Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane, 627–643. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199569885.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Provides a summary of past debates and the state of our knowledge in the early 21st century, including conclusions drawn from human DNA analyses.

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                                                                                                                                      • Obenga, Theophile, ed. Les peuples bantu: Migrations, expansion et identité culturelle. Papers presented at a conference by the Centre International des Civilisations Bantu, Libreville, 1–6 April 1985. 2 vols. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                        Collects numerous contributions by linguists, archaeologists, historians, philosophers, art historians, social anthropologists, and so on.

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                                                                                                                                        • Pakendorf, Birgitta, Koen Bostoen, and Cesare de Filippo. “Molecular Perspectives on the Bantu Expansion: A Synthesis.” Language Dynamics and Changes 1 (2011): 50–88.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1163/221058211X570349Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Genetic markers indicate not only that migration happened, but also that interbreeding occurred with resident hunter-gatherers.

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                                                                                                                                          • Phillipson, David. “Archaeology and Bantu Linguistics.” World Archaeology 8 (1976): 65–82.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1976.9979653Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Based on the results of a series of excavations, radiocarbon datings, and pottery typology throughout eastern Africa, this paper proposes that two roughly parallel migratory streams took place, from the Great Lakes to the south.

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                                                                                                                                            • Vansina, Jan. “New Linguistic Evidence and ‘The Bantu Expansion.’” Journal of African History 36 (1995): 173–195.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0021853700034101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Marked a radical change in perspective, from a single, continuous migration based on the tree model of language differentiation process to a wavelike model of expansion.

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                                                                                                                                              Iron Age

                                                                                                                                              Dating the beginning of the Iron Age has attracted far more interest than later developments. Very few comprehensive sequences covering the whole period have been produced. However, one long sequence has been obtained along the waterways of the inner Congo basin (Eggert 1993, Wotzka 1995) as well as one much further upstream, in the Upemba Ddepression (Maret 1992). In addition, Clist 2005 (cited under Transition from Stone to Metal), with its research on the seashore around the Gabon estuary, provides at least one sequence for Atlantic Central Africa, whereas Phillipson 1974 gives a useful overview for Zambia. By processing all the existing datings available for Central Africa’s Iron Age, Wotzka 2006 has highlighted some major trends in the regional settlement history. The same pattern of trends has been corroborated more recently for West Central Africa, in Oslisly, et al. 2013 (cited under Paleoenvironment). Although a history more than an archaeology text, Vansina 1990 should be mentioned here, as it contains a sweeping synthesis of five thousand years of Equatorial African history by a prominent historian of Central Africa.

                                                                                                                                              • Eggert, Manfred K. H. “Central Africa and the Archaeology of the Equatorial Rainforest: Reflections on Some Major Topics.” In The Archaeology of Africa: Food, Metals, and Towns. Edited by Thurstan Shaw, Paul Sinclair, Bassey Andah, and Alex Okpoko, 289–329. London: Routledge, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                A lengthy and well-illustrated essay on various the pottery traditions excavated in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a critical assessment of evidence and theories and a plea by the author for more factual dates to be obtained through fieldwork.

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                                                                                                                                                • Maret, Pierre de. Fouilles archéologiques dans la vallée du Haut Lualaba, Zaïre, III: Kamilamba, Kikulu et Malemba-Nkulu, 1975. 2 vols. Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique Centrale, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                  The Congo/Lualaba River floodplain, in the Upemba Depression, in southeast DRC, is dotted with archaeological sites. Six, mostly graveyards, have been excavated. The exceptionally rich grave goods offer the sequence of cultural evolution over the last fourteen hundred years. Numerous photographs and line drawings are available in a separate volume. The last two of a series of four books starting with Nenquin 1963 (cited under History of Research) on this area.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Phillipson, David W. “Iron Age History and Archaeology in Zambia.” Journal of African History 16 (1974): 1–25.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0021853700013219Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Remains the most thorough and accessible synthesis of the Iron Age in Zambia. Based on the previous decade of excavations throughout the country.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Vansina, Jan. Paths in the Rainforests: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                      Based on a wide range of linguistic, ethnographic, and historical as well as archeological sources, a sweeping overview of the history of Central Africa. Extremely stimulating. The French translation (Sur les sentiers du passé en forêt: Les cheminements de la tradition politique ancienne de l’Afrique équatoriale [Leuven, Belgium: Université catholique de Louvain, 1990]) includes several improvements, especially with respect to linguistic data.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Wotzka, Hans-Peter. Studien zur Archäologie des zentralafrikanischen Zaïre-Beckens und ihre Stellung im Kontext der Bantu-expansion. Cologne: Heinrich-Barth Institut, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                        This thick book, based on the author’s doctoral dissertation, deals in impressive detail with the cultural sequence for the inner Congo basin, which was worked out by German archaeologists, thanks to extensive waterborne reconnaissance in the 1980s, under the leadership of Manfred K. H. Eggert. Includes multiple maps and tables and fine drawings.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Wotzka, Hans-Peter. “Records of Activity: Radiocarbon and the Structure of Iron Age Settlement in Central Africa.” In Grundlegungen. Beiträge zur europäischen und afrikanischen Archäologie für Manfred K. H. Eggert. Edited by Hans-Peter Wotzka, 271–289. Tübingen, Germany: Francke Attempto Verlag, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                          Groups dispersion calibration of almost a thousand datings, highlighting a west-to-east succession of settlement peaks over time and, in the northwest, a marked decline after AD 400, followed by a phase of recovery in some areas after c. AD 1000.

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                                                                                                                                                          Early Iron Age

                                                                                                                                                          As the precise time when iron use and the practice of metallurgy started in various parts of Central Africa is still unclear, readings in this section should be supplemented by those cited under Transition from Stone to Metal and Bantu Migration. Dating the oldest metallurgy has generated a lot of interest but remains difficult and very controversial. Zangato and Holl 2010 has claimed evidence of the oldest iron metallurgy in the world in the Central African Republic (CAR). Van Grunderbeek 1992 has also published unexpectedly old dates for several iron furnaces in Rwanda, whereas, thanks to Digombe, et al. 1988, the Early Iron Age is well documented for Gabon (Oslisly and Peyrot 1992), for nearby Equatorial Guinea (González-Ruibal, et al. 2013), and for Cameroon (Meister 2010). Further south, on the Atlantic coast, Denbow 2012 also provides some indications for Congo, whereas to the southeast, Phillipson 1972 offers the best summary of evidence for Zambia. A general overview of the data can be found in Clist 2012.

                                                                                                                                                          • Clist, Bernard. “Vers une réduction des préjugés et la fonte des antagonismes: Un bilan de l’expansion de la métallurgie du fer en Afrique sud-saharienne.” Journal of African Archaeology 10.1 (2012): 71–84.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.3213/2191-5784-10205Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            A critical examination of chronological data for iron working from West, Central, and East Africa that leads the author to reevaluate the start of iron metallurgy in those regions.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Denbow, James. “Pride, Prejudice, Plunder und Preservation: Archaeology and the Re-Envisioning of Ethnogenesis on the Loango Coast of the Republic of Congo.” Antiquity 86.332 (2012): 383–408.

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                                                                                                                                                              A useful overview of the results of archaeological work along the neglected Congo coast. Interestingly, iron appears in the sequence later on further north, in Gabon and Cameroon, suggesting a north-south diffusion. Also provides an interesting reflection on the practice of rescue archaeology and its not always predictable consequences.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Digombe, Lazare, P. R. Schmidt, Vincent Mouleingui-Boukosso, Jean-Bernard Mombo, and Michel Locko. “The Development of an Early Iron Age Prehistory in Gabon.” Current Anthropology 29.1 (1988): 179–184.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/203624Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Regroups the results of the authors’ surveys and excavations of Early Iron Age furnaces in southeast Gabon. At the time these results were unexpectedly early for the region.

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                                                                                                                                                                • González-Ruibal, Alfredo, Manuel Sánchez-Elipe, and Carlos Otero-Vilariño. “An Ancient and Common Tradition: Funerary Rituals and Society in Equatorial Guinea (First–Twelfth Centuries AD).” African Archaeological Review 30.2 (2013): 115–143.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s10437-012-9124-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks to a rescue operation, many sites dating back to the Early Iron Age have been excavated on an island off the coast of the continental part of Equatorial Guinea. Several burials with rich iron grave goods have been studied.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • van Grunderbeek, Marie-Claude. “Essai de délimitation chronologique de l’Âge du Fer Ancien au Burundi, au Rwanda et dans la région des Grands Lacs.” Azania 27.1 (1992): 53–80.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/00672709209511431Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Reviews the evidence for early metallurgy in connection with Urewe pottery in the Great Lakes area. Some of the earliest datings remain controversial.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Meister, Conny. “Remarks on Early Iron Age Burial Sites from Southern Cameroon.” African Archaeological Review 27 (2010): 237–249.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s10437-010-9081-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Excavations by Manfred K. H. Eggert and his German colleagues have unearthed several graves with numerous iron grave goods. A useful overview of their findings in relation to other similar discoveries in the area.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Oslisly, Richard, and Bernard Peyrot. “L’arrivée des premiers métallurgistes sur l’Ogooué (Gabon).” African Archaeological Review 10 (1992): 129–138.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/BF01117698Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Dates the earliest evidence for iron in central Gabon.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Phillipson, David W. “Early Iron Age Sites on the Zambian Copperbelt.” Azania 7.1 (1972): 93–128.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/00672707209511558Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          A comprehensive guide to the many Early Iron Age findings from northern Zambia.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Zangato, Étienne, and Augustin F. C. Holl. “On the Iron Front: New Evidence from North-Central Africa.” Journal of African Archaeology 8.1 (2010): 7–23.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.3213/1612-1651-10153Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            The extremely early dates for iron metallurgy in the western CAR have generated much interest but need to be substantiated by additional data to convince many. See also the reactions following this article in the same issue.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Late Iron Age

                                                                                                                                                                            Many citations in previous sections on the Iron Age (see Iron Age, Early Iron Age) deal, at least partially, with the Later Iron Age. However, some works have focused more specifically on the last thousand years, often in connection with early-21st-century populations, and on famous kingdoms. David 2008, Holl 2002, Langlois 1998, MacEachern 2002, and Mezop Temgoua 2011 presents a wealth of data on the archaeological background of early-21st-century inhabitants of the northern half of Cameroon. Guttierez 2008 lists Iron Age sites in Angola, whereas for Zambia, mention should be made of Bisson 2000 as well as Fagan, et al. 1969. Finally, Maret 2013 provides an overview of the region during this period.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Bisson, Michael. “Precolonial Copper Metallurgy: Sociopolitical Context.” In Ancient African Metallurgy: The Sociocultural Context. Edited by Joseph Vogel, 83–145. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                              This essay contains a good summary of the years of research by the author on early copper working in the Copperbelt of northern Zambia.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • David, Nicholas, ed. Performance and Agency: The DGB Sites of Northern Cameroon. British Archaeological Reports 1830. Oxford: Hadrian, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Offers a comprehensive synthesis of three decades of groundbreaking research on the mountain range in northern Cameroon. David has been very influential from a historical, an anthropological, and an ethnoarchaeological perspective.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Fagan, Brian, D. W. Phillipson, and S. G. H. Daniels, eds. Iron Age Cultures in Zambia. Vol. 2, Dambwa, Ingombe Ilede, and the Tonga. London: Chatto and Windus, 1969.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Regroups the results of several excavations, with Ingombe Ilede cemetery being the most spectacular. Well illustrated, with black-and-white photographs and line drawings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Guttierez, Manuel. Recherches archéologiques en Angola: Préhistoire, art rupestre, archéologie funéraire. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Offers an overview of late-20th- and early-21st-century archaeological research in that country, including the excavation of a number of funerary structures.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Holl, Augustin F. C. The Land of Houlouf: Genesis of a Chadic Polity, 1900 BC–AD 1800. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      The more recent and accessible publication on the excavation the author conducted during the 1980s at fourteen mounds in northern Cameroon, but with few references to other, more recent archaeological work in the Chadian Plain.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Langlois, Olivier. “Le programme de recherches archéologiques sur le peuplement post-néolithique du Diamaré.” In Paléo-anthropologie en Afrique centrale: Un bilan de l’archéologie au Cameroun. Edited by Michèle Delneuf, Joseph-Marie Essomba, and Alain Froment, 269–283. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        One of the most useful and accessible summaries of the various French research projects that have been ongoing in northern Cameroon for decades.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • MacEachern, Scott. “Beyond the Belly of the House: Space and Power in the Mandara Mountains.” Journal of Social Archaeology 2.2 (2002): 197–219.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1177/1469605302002002395Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Based on long-term research on the archaeology of this mountain range, a subtle analysis of how occupation of space and power can interrelate over a long period of time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Maret, Pierre de. “Recent Farming Communities and States in the Congo Basin and Its Environs.” In The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Edited by Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane, 875–886. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199569885.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            This overview connects archaeological discoveries with the various ethnic groups and major kingdoms of the region.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mezop Temgoua, Alice. “Archéologie, traditions orales et ethnographie au nord du Cameroun: Histoire de la région du Faro durant le dernier millénaire.” PhD diss., Université libre de Bruxelles, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Based on extensive surveys and many excavations, a detailed analysis of the interaction between ethnic groups along the Faro River and the surrounding mountains. Archaeological data are assessed vis-à-vis oral traditions, ethnography, and linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Rock Art

                                                                                                                                                                                              Rock art in Central Africa is often overlooked. Because of its lack of suitable rock, the vast inner Congo basin obviously has no rock art, but at its periphery, from northern Cameroon to the south of Angola, rock art has been uncovered. It is generally very schematic, or geometric, but comprises, in a few instances, stylized human or animal depictions. Petroglyphs in northern Cameroon have been studied in Marliac 1981, whereas other rock engravings have been reported in the nearby Central African Republic (CAR) in Bayle des Hermens 1984. Further south, in Gabon, Richard Oslisly has analyzed those found in the Lopé area. There is an important concentration of painted and engraved rocks and rock shelters in lower Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), extending southward, and northward to nearby Angola and Congo. A major concentration of sites from this tradition in the DRC has been studied in detail in Heimlich 2010 and in the Congo, in Lanfranchi 1985. Rock art is present in many areas of Angola. It was studied by Portuguese researchers during colonial times and, more recently, in Guttierez 2008. Rock art has been the topic as well of a very detailed study to the southeast, in Zambia (Smith 1997). Le Quellec 2004, in his book on rock art in Africa, provides a general overview for West and Central Africa. An updated discussion of rock art in Africa and of the state of the research in Central Africa is given in Smith 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Bayle des Hermens de, Roger. “L’art rupestre en République Centrafricaine.” Bolletino del Centro Camuno di studi preistorici Brescia 21 (1984): 75–84.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                A brief and final overview of the author’s longstanding interest in open-air rock engravings in the CAR.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Guttierez, Manuel. “L’art rupestre de la province de Namibe, Angola: Étude des sites par rapport à leur position topographique.” Journal of African Archaeology 6.1 (2008): 21–32.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.3213/1612-1651-10101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Offers a synthesis of the various rock art zones known in Angola. Based largely on the work of previous, Portuguese scholars.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Heimlich, Geoffroy. “Lower Congo Rock Art Revisited.” Nyame Akuma 74 (2010): 42–50.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reports on ongoing and systematic research on this major concentration of rock art in the DRC.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lanfranchi, Raymond. “Note sur les abris ornés de la région de Bouansa.” Cataractes 1 (1985): 123–131.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      The only overview of paintings found in the rock shelters of lower Congo, unfortunately, in the first issue of a journal that did not last. Hard to obtain.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Le Quellec, Jean-Loïc. Rock Art in Africa: Mythology and Legend. Translated by Paul Bahn. Paris: Flammarion, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        English translation of Arts rupestres et mythologies en Afrique (Paris: Flammarion, 2004). Contains a very useful overview on West and Central Africa and some useful methodological considerations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Marliac, Alain. Recherches sur les pétroglyphes de Bidzar au Cameroun septentrional. Paris: Éditions de l’Office de la rechereche scientifique et technique outre-mer, 1981.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Based on the author’s doctoral dissertation, a detailed study of numerous blocks of rock engraved with geometric figures in northern Cameroon. This rock art has since been destroyed by a cement factory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Oslisly, Richard. “The Rock Art of Gabon: Techniques, Themes and Estimation of Its Age by Cultural Association.” In Aspects of African Archaeology: Papers from the 10th Congress of the PanAfrican Association for Prehistory and Related Studies. Edited by Gilbert Pwiti and Robert Soper, 361–370. Harare: University of Zimbabwe, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Summarizes several years of research on the rock engravings found along the Ogooué River, in the center of Gabon.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Smith, Benjamin. Zambia’s Ancient Rock Art: The Paintings of Kasana. Livingstone, Zambia: National Heritage Conservation Commission, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Based on the author’s doctoral dissertation, this book offers the best overview of Zambia’s rock art. A model of methods and interpretations. Contrasts hunter-gatherers’ geometric art with a more figurative tradition linked to Bantu agriculturalists and their initiation rituals.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Smith, Benjamin. “Rock Art Research in Africa.” In The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Edited by Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane, 145–161. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199569885.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A useful, brief discussion of an approach to understanding the meaning of those artistic manifestations. The section on Central Africa focuses on Zambia—its red painting, usually attributed to hunter-gatherers, and the dominant white painting done by the ancestors of the local, modern-day farmer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Megaliths

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Megalithism has only been reported in two areas of Central Africa: western Central African Republic (CAR) and northwestern Cameroon. There are a great many stone circles in the vicinity of the city of Bouar in CAR. They have been the subject of several research projects, first in David 1982, and, more recently, in Zangato 1999. For information on the monuments from northwestern Cameroon, Asombang 2004 is a useful starting point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Asombang, Raymond. “Interpreting Standing Stones in Africa: A Case Study in Northwest Cameroon.” Antiquity 78 (2004): 294–305.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An archaeological survey of many of those monuments and some ethnographic inquiries indicating that they had both practical and ceremonial uses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • David, Nicholas. “Tazunu: Megalithic Monuments of Central Africa.” Azania 17.1 (1982): 43–77.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/00672708209511299Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A useful and detailed study of some of those monuments, but with few elements of dating.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Zangato, Étienne. Sociétés préhistoriques et mégalithes dans le Nord-Ouest de la République Centrafricaine. Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology. Oxford: Archaeopress, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The publication of the author’s doctoral dissertation, with numerous surveys, excavations, and datings. The most complete study on the subject, with many illustrations. The length of the sequence suggested by the radiocarbon dates (c 2100 BC to AD 1600) is, however, puzzling.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ethnoarchaeology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The study of material culture from an archaeological perspective has become a significant part of archaeological research since the late 20th century. Some of the most influential work has been carried out in Central Africa, mainly in Cameroon, but also in the two Congos. It has focused on pottery making as well as iron metallurgy. David and Kramer 2001 provides a good overview of this research in Cameroon and Central Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • David, Nicholas, and Carol Kramer. 2001. Ethnoarchaeology in Action. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The most comprehensive book on ethnoarchaeological research, with many references to David’s long involvement with the people of the Mandara range, in northern Cameroon.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pottery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The groundbreaking research in David and Hennig 1972 on Fulani pottery was followed by many years of research in northern Cameroon by Nicholas David and later, significant developments, reported in MacEachern 2001. In southern Cameroon, Olivier P. Gosselain conducted long inquiries (Gosselain 2002), the results of which also had far-reaching impact. His work has often been done in close association with Alexandre Livingstone-Smith. Again in Cameroon, and in a similar vein, mention should be made of Wallaert 2001. In Congo, Bruno Pinçon and Marie-Claude Dupré have worked on pottery manufacture (Pinçon and Dupré 2000), whereas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Manfred K. H. Eggert and Misago researched some of the various pottery traditions (Eggert and Misago 1980). Gosselain and Livingstone-Smith 2013 provides a discussion of ceramic studies in Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • David, Nicholas, and Hilke Hennig. “The Ethnography of Pottery: A Fulani Case Seen in Archaeological Perspective.” MacCaleb Module in Anthropology 21 (1972): 1–29.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This article marks the start of a still ongoing research project among the various ethnolinguistic groups of northern Cameroon that remains a milestone in African ethnoarchaeology.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Eggert, Manfred K. H., and Kanimba Misago. “Aspects d’un métier traditionnel: L’industrie de poterie à Ikenga (région de l’Equateur, Zaïre).” Baessler-Archiv Neue Folge 28 (1980): 387–430.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A detailed study of a major center of pottery production in the middle of the Congo basin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Gosselain, Olivier P. Poteries du Cameroun méridional: Styles techniques et rapports à l’identité. Paris: Centre national de la recherche scientifique Éditions, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A far-reaching, comprehensive study of the various styles of pottery manufacturing among the many ethnolinguistic groups of southern Cameroon. A landmark in ceramic studies. Numerous distribution maps, photographs, and line drawings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Gosselain, Olivier P., and Alexandre Livingstone-Smith. “A Century of Ceramic Studies in Africa.” In The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Edited by Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane, 117–129. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199569885.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A useful survey of general trends in ceramic studies, with many examples from Central Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Livingstone-Smith, Alexandre. “Processing Clay for Pottery in Northern Cameroon: Social and Technical Requirements.” Archaeometry 42 (2000): 21–42.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4754.2000.tb00864.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shows the importance of social and symbolic factors in technological choices.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • MacEachern, Scott. “Setting the Boundaries: Linguistics, Ethnicity, Colonialism, and Archaeology South of Lake Chad.” In Archaeology, Language and History: Essays on Culture and Ethnicity. Edited by John Edward Terell, 79–102. Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An important example of how long-term archaeological and ethnographical research can enlighten complex issues.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Pinçon, Bruno, and Marie-Claude Dupré. “Céramiques congolaises: Dynamiques des productions artisanales chez les Teke d’Afrique centrale.” In Arts du feu et productions artisanales. Edited by Pierre Petrequin, Philippe Fluzin, Jacques Thiriot, and Paul Benoit, 287–300. Antibes, France: Éditions APDCA, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Offers a useful summary of research on pottery making, mainly among the Teke and Kongo people of Congo.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Wallaert, Hélène. “The Way of Potter’s Mother: Apprenticeship Strategies among Dii Potters from Cameroon, West Africa.” In Cultural Transmission and Material Culture: Breaking Down Boundaries. Edited by Miriam T. Stark, Brenda J. Brower, and Lee Horne, 178–198. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A case study of complex apprenticeship strategies in the Faro area and how they also shape social behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Metallurgy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For iron metallurgy, Celis and Nzikobanyanka 1976 is one of the last studies to document the activity in Burundi, whereas, van Noten and van Noten 1974 and Herbert and Misago 1990 examine the craft in the DRC. For the Central African Republic (CAR), Yandia 1995 provides some useful information on traditional metallurgy in the northern part of the country. In addition, two books that cannot be overlooked are Herbert 1993, on iron, and Herbert 1984, on copper. They cover sub-Saharan Africa in general, but with many references to the metallurgy and the various uses of those two metals in Central Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Celis, Georges, and Emmanuel Nzikobanyanka. La métallurgie traditionnelle au Burundi: Techniques et croyances. Tervuren, Belgium: Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, 1976.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Based on extensive surveys and inquiries, a comprehensive overview of what was still possible to gather on the various iron-working traditions in Burundi. Illustrates how diverse the craft could be in a relatively small area.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Dupré, Marie-Claude, and Bruno Pinçon. Métallurgie et politique en Afrique centrale: Deux milles ans de vestiges sur les plateaux bateke (Congo, Gabon, Zaïre). Paris: Karthala, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of the authors’ studies on how traditional metallurgy mixed with trade and politics in the area east of Brazzaville.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Herbert, Eugenia W. Red Gold of Africa: Copper in Precolonial History and Culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In many African societies, copper was more valued than gold. The many roles played by this metal are reviewed here with a multidisciplinary perspective and frequent examples from Central Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Herbert, Eugenia W. Iron, Gender and Power: Rituals of Transformations in African Iron Working. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A broad synthesis of how, when smelting or forging, the symbolic and technical dimensions of the work interrelate. Underlines the impact of iron working on the economic and political spheres, with many references to Central Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Herbert, Eugenia W., and Kanimba Misago. “Preliminary Report on Research into Traditional Iron Working at Lopanzo, Equateur Province.” Nyame Akuma 33 (1990): 28–29.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A brief look at one of the last iron-smelting processes to be seen in the DRC.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • van Noten, Francis L., and Eliane van Noten. “Het ijzersmelten by de Madi.” Africa-Tervuren 20 (1974): 57–66.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reports on the reenactment of iron smelting among the Madi of northeastern DRC.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Yandia, Félix. “La métallurgie du fer dans le nord-ouest de la République Centrafricaine: Recherche archéologique et ethnologique.” Journal des africanistes 65.2 (1995): 111–124.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.3406/jafr.1995.2434Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A summary of the results of the author’s doctoral dissertation on late-20th-century and ancient iron working in northern CAR.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cultural Heritage Management

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mining and major infrastructure developments have always played an important role in the discovery of archaeological sites in Central Africa. Increasingly, cultural heritage management has been part of a mandatory environmental impact assessment, and rescue archaeology has created opportunity for the future development of archaeology, as suggested in Cornelissen 2013. The most spectacular examples come from Cameroon, a country that implements the law on this matter; Philippe Lavachery and colleagues have worked there on an oil pipeline of more than a thousand kilometers (Lavachery, et al. 2010). Reports on work on a smaller scale are also revealing, such as Oslisly 2010. These present fresh perspectives for future archaeological developments, as proposed in Maret, et al. 2008, but are not without problems, as explained in MacEachern 2010 and Arazi 2011.Some indications of what is being achieved in other countries are provided in Ndanga 2008, for the Central African Republic (CAR); González-Ruibal, et al. 2011, for Equatorial Guinea; and Denbow 2012 (cited under Early Iron Age), for Congo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Arazi, Noémie. “Safeguarding Archaeological Cultural Resources in Africa: Policies, Methods, and Issues of (Non) Compliance.” African Archaeological Review 28 (2011): 27–38.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/s10437-011-9090-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Based on years of experience, this article analyzes the gap between what should be the norm and what is actually done in most instances.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cornelissen, Els. “Archaeology in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Old and Current Strategies for Ancient Issues.” In European Archaeology Abroad: Global Settings, Comparative Perspectives. Edited by Sjoerd J. van der Linden, Monique H. van den Dries, Nathan N. Schlanger, and Corijanne G. Slappendel, 205–222. Leiden, The Netherlands: Sidestone, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Given the large scale of future infrastructure developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), rescue archaeology may well save archaeological research in this country.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • González-Ruibal, Alfredo, Llorenç Picornell Gelabert, and Alba Valenciano Mane. “Early Iron Age Burials from Equatorial Guinea: The Sites of Corisco Island.” Journal of African Archaeology 9.1 (2011): 41–66.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.3213/1612-1651-10182Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The impact assessment of a runway on this small island has led to the discovery and excavation of three burial sites with rich iron grave goods.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lavachery, Philippe, Scott MacEachern, Tchago Bouimon, and Christophe Mbida Mindzie. Komé-Kribi: Rescue Archaeology along the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline, 1999–2004. Frankfurt: Africa Magna Verlag, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The impressive results of the monitoring and rescue excavation of the construction of a 1,076 kilometer oil pipeline running from southern Chad to the Atlantic coast. Some 472 sites were discovered.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • MacEachern, Scott. “Seeing Like an Oil Company’s CHM Programme: Exxon and Archaeology on the Chad Export Project.” Journal of Social Archaeology 10 (2010): 347–366.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/1469605310378801Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A useful discussion of the differences in perspectives between the various stakeholders and how these generate misunderstandings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Maret, Pierre de, Philippe Lavachery, and Bienvenu Gouem Gouem. “Grands travaux publics, grandes opportunités archéologiques? Évaluation d’un siècle d’expériences en Afrique.” Paper presented at a colloquium held in Nouakchott, 1–3 February 2007. In L’archéologie préventive en Afrique: Enjeux et perspectives. Edited by Baouba Ould Mohamed Naffé, Raymond Lanfranchi, and Nathan Schlanger, 142–152. Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France: Sépia, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This paper illustrates how major public works and archaeology have been carried out concurrently since the beginning in Central Africa. This arrangement is not always without problems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ndanga, Jean-Paul. “L’archéologie préventive en République Centrafricaine: État de la question et perspectives d’avenir.” Paper presented at a colloquium held in Nouakchott, 1–3 February 2007. In L’archéologie préventive en Afrique: Enjeux et perspectives. Edited by Baouba Ould Mohamed Naffé, Raymond Lanfranchi, and Nathan Schlanger, 153–163. Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France: Sépia, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A summary of the kinds of rescue archaeology that have been done in CAR and their relation to mining projects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Oslisly, Richard. “Une décennie d’archéologie de sauvetage et préventive au Cameroun (2000–2010).” Les nouvelles de l’archéologie 120.121 (2010): 75–80.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Offers an overview of the author’s involvement in rescue archaeology in Cameroon.

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