Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-s8fcc Total loading time: 0.264 Render date: 2022-12-02T03:36:19.799Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

2 - Ancient Villages in the Niger Bend: Context and Methods for Exploring the Voltaic Region

Stephen A. Dueppen
Affiliation:
University of Oregon
Get access

Summary

Since material remains are the residues of past social processes, it must be taken into account that given an ethnographic setting in which many large and small scale polities are structured by corporate political strategies and egalitarian behaviors, the material and spatial patterns derived from their evolution reflect the long-term negotiations leading to similar structures. Archaeology in West Africa, then, is faced with the difficulty of discerning the utility and relevance of ethnographic observations of societies frequently characterized by non-centralized political systems, highly egalitarian social relations, and/or more subtle materializations of political processes. Consequently, in order to interpret the region's archaeological record, and ultimately to contribute African cases to worldwide theory, it is important to build up interpretive frameworks from the regional ethnographic record along with more general models from the exterior, rather than simply imposing the latter. In this chapter I present the general and regionally informed framework for the study of Kirikongo by introducing the modern Voltaic region and current archaeological understandings of its past.

The Voltaic Region: Complexity and Diversity in Village Societies

A variety of societies that exemplify the need for consideration of alternative political strategies and their complex archaeological signatures are found in the Voltaic region, located within the Niger Bend of central West Africa (Figure 2.1). The Voltaic region comprises the drainages of the three Volta rivers to their confluence in north-central Ghana, encompassing most of Burkina Faso and northern Ghana, but also smaller areas of Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin (Delafosse 1912). The modern peoples are primarily speakers of Gur languages, although there is a significant minority of Mande speakers, and cultural similarities between the two groups blur linguistic boundaries.

Type
Chapter
Information
Egalitarian Revolution in the Savanna
The Origins of a West African Political System
, pp. 15 - 26
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×