The relations between individuals, families, and social groups shape and are shaped by space and histories of its use. In our examination of several Voltaic societies a variety of spatial and temporal features in villages were influenced by the particular social system, including anteriority of settlement as a legitimacy of relations with the divinities; spacing and nature of domestic architecture reflecting village communalism or house independence (closed compound, open elongated room block); settlement structure influencing where individuals farm and how many cattle they keep; etc. While Kirikongo today is divided into a roughly round village center, an isolated northern mound, and three eastern mounds, in order to discern long-term change, it is essential to understand the order by which social groups appeared at Kirikongo, and how spatial arrangements changed over time.
In this chapter I apply the ceramic-based temporal framework to both the depositional episodes from excavation units and the chronological information derived from surface collections and recorded road cut profiles in order to reconstruct the growth of the settlement. I then present the results of radiocarbon dating to estimate actual calendar years for each of the five periods. As can be seen in previous chapters, Kirikongo's mounds were continually occupied, in some cases for over a thousand years. However, the results of chronological analyses suggest that the mounds at Kirikongo were founded at different times and the cultural priorities that influenced where new houses were built transformed over time.
Reconstructing the Site Chronology
Using the ceramic sequence developed in Chapter 6, the stratigraphic episodes from the excavated mounds defined in Chapter 5 were assigned to occupation sub-phases (Table 8.1).