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Recent Archaeological Research and Dates from West Africa

  • Susan Keech McIntosh (a1) and Roderick J. McIntosh (a1)


This article reports over 250 new radiocarbon dates relevant to recent archaeological research in West Africa. Thanks to the continuing trend towards series of dates from either single sites or groups of related sites, some major blanks on the archaeological map of West Africa have been replaced by well-dated regional sequences. An example is the Malian Sahara, where palaeoenvironmental and archaeological investigations at a large number of sites have clarified the relationship between Holocene climatic change and Late Stone Age occupation. Other areas that were largely archaeological unknowns until the research reported in this article was undertaken include the middle Senegal valley, the Inland Niger Delta, and the Bassar region in Togo. Other research included here reinterprets previously studied, ‘classic’ Late Stone Age sequences, such as Adrar Bous, Kintampo and Tichitt. There are also new dates and details for early copper in Niger and Mauritania which prompt a reconsideration of the true nature of this proposed ‘Copper Age’. Of particular significance to general reconstructions of West African prehistory is the documentation of regional and long-distance trade accompanying the emergence of complex societies along the Middle Senegal and Middle Niger in the first millennium A.D.

The article begins with a brief commentary on calibration, in view of the recent publication of high-precision calibration curves. Several prevalent misconceptions of what calibration is and what it ought to do are addressed. We suggest that archaeologists and historians should routinely make reference to calibration in order to avoid misinterpreting radiocarbon results.



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1 The two preceding articles were by Sutton, J. E. G., ‘Archaeology in West Africa: a review of recent work and a further list of radiocarbon dates’, J. Afr. Hist., xxiii (1982), 291313; and by Calvocoressi, D. and David, N., ‘A new survey of radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dates for West Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., xx (1979), 129.

2 De Maret, P., ‘Recent archaeological research and dates from Central Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., xxvi (1985), 129148.

3 We discuss the important issue of archaeological nomenclature, with reference to the Burg Wartenstein recommendations, in McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘Current Directions in West African Prehistory’, Ann. Rev. Anth., xii (1983), 218219.

4 Based on a half-life of 5570 years.

5 The calibration tables published by Klein, J., Lerman, J. C., Damon, P. E. and Ralph, E. K. in Radiocarbon, xxiv (1982), 103150, represent an effort at consensus among the many and divergent bristlecone pine calibrations.

6 Stuiver, M., ‘A high-precision calibration of the A.D. radiocarbon scale’, Radiocarbon, xxiv (1982), 126; Pearson, G. W. and Baillie, M. G. L., ‘High precision 14C measurements of Irish oaks to show the natural 14C variations of the AD time period’, Radiocarbon, xxv (1983), 187196.

7 A major source for anyone interested in any aspect of high-precision work is Ottaway, B. S. (ed.), Archaeology, Dendrochronology and the Radiocarbon Calibration Curve, University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology Occasional Paper No.9 (1983).

8 Accuracy and precision have different statistical connotations: accuracy denotes the nearness of a single measurement to the exact or true value; precision of a radiocarbon date refers to the dispersion of the measurement resulting from the random nature of radioactive decay. It is possible to measure an inaccurate value very precisely.

9 Pearson, G. W., Pilcher, J. R., Baillie, M. G. L., and Hillam, J., ‘Absolute radiocarbon dating using a low altitude European tree-ring calibration’, Nature, CCLXX (November, 1977), 2528.

10 Baillie, M. G. L. and Pilcher, J. R., ‘Some observations on the high-precision calibration of routine dates’, in Ottaway, Archaeology, 54. The Belfast lab has also published a calibration curve for the period 200–4000 B.C.

11 Pilcher, J. R., ‘Radiocarbon calibration and dendrochronology - an introduction’, in Ottaway, Archaeology, 56.

12 Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 29.

13 Ideally, the error used in calibration should take into account both the sample error (σ sample) plus the uncertainty in the calibration curve (sigma calib.), normally ± 17 years. The formula used is √(σ2 sample + σ2 calib). For a typical radiocarbon determination with a sample error of ±50 years or more, the increase in error due to the uncertainty of the calibration curve is negligible.

14 Baillie, and Pilcher, , ‘Some observations’, 60.

15 Ibid., 58–9.

16 See the Belfast calibration curve for 200–4000 B.C.: Pearson, G. W., Pilcher, J. R., Baillie, M. G. L., ‘High precision 14C measurement of Irish oaks to show the natural 14C variations from 200 B.C. to 4000 B.C.’, Radiocarbon, xxv (1983), 179186.

17 Sutton, ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 293.

18 Findings summarized in Talbot, M., ‘Environmental responses to climatic change in the West African Sahel over the past 20,000 years’, in Williams, M. A. J. and Faure, H. (eds.), The Sahara and the Nile (Rotterdam, 1980), 3762; and McIntosh, and McIntosh, , ‘Current directions’, 219225.

19 Full listing of these dates can be found in Petit-Maire, N. and Risier, J., Sahara ou Sahel? Quaternaire récent du Bassin de Taoudenni (Marseille, 1983); Delibrias, G., Petit-Maire, N., and Fabre, J., ‘Age des dépots lacustres récents de la région de Taoudenni-Trhaza’, C. R. Acad. Sc. Paris, ccxcix, ser. II, no. 19 (1984), 13431346.

20 Hugot, G., ‘Les lacs quaternaires du Sahara méridional: l'exemple de Tichitt (Mauritanie)’, in Roubet, C., Hugot, H.-J. and Souville, G. (eds.), Préhistoire Africaine: Mélanges offerts au doyen Lionel Balout (Paris, 1981), 263273; and Diop, C. A.Datations par la méthode du radiocarbone, série iv’, Bull.I.F.A.N., xxxix (3), sér. B, 465466.

21 Paris, F. and Durand, A., ‘Paléoenvironnements et préhistoire: prospection de la vallée de l'Azawagh’, in Le Programme Azawagh: rapport de mission 1984, privately circulated, 1985.

22 See especially Smith, A., ‘The Neolithic tradition in the Sahara’, in Williams, and Faure, , The Sahara and the Nile, 452453, and Sutton, J. E. G., ‘The aquatic civilization of Middle Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., xv (1974), 527546; Sutton, J. E. G., ‘The African aqualithic’, Antiquity, LI (1977). 2534.

23 Petit-Maire, N. (ed.), Le Sahara Atlantique au Holocène. Peuplement et Ecologie, Mem. C.R.A.P.E. 28 (Algiers, 1979); also reported in Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 2324.

24 All currently available dates for Tichitt sites are reported in Amblard, S., Tichitt-Walata: civilisation et Industrie lithique (Paris, 1984), 3637.

25 Dates for human occupation are reported in Petit-Maire and Risier, Sahara ou Sahel?; Petit-Maire, N., Celles, J. C., Commelin, D., Delibrias, G. and Raimbault, M., ‘The Sahara in northern Mali: man and his environment between 10,000 and 3,500 years bp’, Afr. Arch. Rev., 1 (1983) 105125; Delibrias, G. et al. , ‘Age des dépots’.

26 We are grateful to Nicole Petit-Maire for discussing with us in June, 1985, the results of her most recent research near Taoudenni.

27 Sutton, , ‘African Aqualithic’, 26.

28 Petit-Maire, et al. , ‘The Sahara in northern Mali’; this point is discussed in McIntosh and McIntosh, ‘Current Directions’, 231232.

29 Ibid., 230–1.

30 Roset, J. P., ‘Nouvelles données sur le problème de la néolithisation du Sahara méridional: Air et Ténéré, au Niger’, Cah. O.R.S.T.O.M., ser. Géol. xiii, no. 2 (1983), 119142; Roset, J. P., ‘Les plus vieilles céramiques du Sahara’, Archéologia, CLXXXIII (October, 1983), 4350.

31 Summarized in McIntosh and McIntosh, ‘Current Directions’, 230.

32 Roset, , ‘Les plus vielles céramiques’, 47.

33 Roset, , ‘Nouvelles données’, 138; ‘Les plus vieilles céramiques’, 50.

34 Calvocoressi, and Clark, David Summarized and Smith's, results in ‘A new survey’, 45.

35 Clark, J. D., ‘Epipalaeolithic aggregates from Greboun Wadi, Air and Adrar Bous, northwestern Ténéré, Republic of Niger’, in Abébé, B. and Chavaillon, J. (eds.), Proceedings, 7th Panafr. Congr. Prehist. Quat. Studs. (Addis Ababa, 1976), 6778.

36 Smith, A., ‘A microlithic industry from Adrar Bous, Ténéré Desert, Niger’, in Abebe, and Chavaillon, , Proceedings, 181196.

37 A date of 6615 ± 100 be was run on a sample from the base of the diatomites at Temet. These diatomites developed in deep or flowing clear, cool, water: Roset, ‘Nouvelles données’, 134.

38 Bernus, S. and Bernus, E., Le Programme Azawagh: rapport de mission 1984, privately circulated, 1985. We thank Suzanne Bernus for sending us a copy of this report.

39 Petit-Maire, et al. , ‘The Sahara in northern Mali’, 115117.

40 Petit-Maire, N., ‘Cadre écologique et peuplement humain: le littoral ouest-saharien depuis 10,000 ans’, L'Anthropologie, LXXXIII (1979), 6982.

41 These dates (Gif-2498, 2499, Ly-444, 445) complete the series reported by Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 2324. A fifth date, Gif-2524, represents a correction to that report: Petit-Maire, Le Sahara Atlantique, 149.

42 Lambert, N., ‘Nouvelle contribution à l'étude du Chalcolithique de Mauritanie’, in Echard, N. (ed.), Métallurgies Africaines. Nouvelles Contributions, Mem. Soc. des Africanistes, ix (1983), 68.

43 We are extremely grateful to Robert Vernet for sending us his encyclopaedic thesis, ‘La Préhistoire de la Mauritanie: état de la question’ (Univ. Paris I, 1983), which contains a summary description of his unpublished excavations at Khatt Lemaiteg.

44 Hugot, G., ‘Les lacs’, 269271, reports that Gif-2884 dates hearths with bones of hippopotamus, crocodile, silurid fish, and panther, associated with the remains of pottery and stone-working workshops on the baten.

46 Munson, P. J., ‘Archaeological data on the origins of cultivation in the southwestern Sahara and their implications for Africa’, in Harlan, J. R., deWet, J. M. J., and Stemler, A. B. L. (eds.), The Origins of African Plant Domestication (The Hague, 1976), 187209.

46 Amblard, , Tichitt-Walata, 3536; Vernet, , La Préhistoire, 668670; Holl, A., ‘Essai sur l'économie néolithique du Dhar Tichitt (Mauritanie)’, (unpub. thesis, Univ. Paris I, 1983), 186198.

47 Stahl, A. B., ‘Reinvestigation of Kintampo 6 rock shelter, Ghana: implications for the nature of cultural change’, Afr. Arch. Rev., iii (1985), 117150. We are indebted to Ann Stahl for sending us this manuscript in advance of publication.

48 Flight, C., ‘The Kintampo culture and its place in the economic prehistory of West Africa’, in Harlan, , de Wet, and Stemler, , Origins, 211221.

49 New date UCR-1693 agrees well with Birm-29 for Punpun levels at K6, and I-2699 on Punpun deposits at KI. These dates overlap Kintampo culture dates from K6 (UCR-1690–1692), KI (I-2698), Mumute (N-1984) and Ntereso (SR-52, SR-81) when two standard errors are considered. See Willett, F., ‘A survey of recent results in the radiocarbon chronology of western and northern Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., XII (1971), 352; and Posnansky, M. and McIntosh, R., ‘New radiocarbon dates for northern and western Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., XVII (1976), 189 for these dates. A fifth new date (UCR-1694) is associated with a LSA quartz industry and rare pottery in the lowest level at K6.

50 Stahl, , ‘Reinvestigation’, 143.

51 Talbot, M. R., Livingstone, D. A., Palmer, P. G., Maley, J., Melack, J. M., Delibrias, G., Gullicksen, S., ‘Preliminary results from sediment cores from Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana’, Palaeoecology of Africa and the Surrounding Islands, xvi (1984), 173192, reports 25 new 14C dates on sediment cores.

52 S-2370, 2371, 2373, 2376, 4-CX, 6-CX, SFU-390: see Appendix. We are grateful to Frank Kense for providing dates and extensive comments in advance of publication.

53 F. Kense, pers. comm.

54 F. Kense, pers. comm.

55 Relevant dates reported here are SFU-389, 273, 274, and Alpha 562 (a TL date). These dates support the previous results from related areas and levels (S-1855, 1858, GX-6133, 6134, SFU-12, 13) reported by Sutton, ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 298.

56 Meulengracht, A., McGovern, P., and Lawn, B., ‘University of Pennsylvania radio-carbon dates XXI’, Radiocarbon, xxiii (1981), 233.

57 P-2746 agrees well with P-2745 (Sutton, ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 312) and Gif-4241 and N-2982 (Calvocoressi and David, ‘A new survey’, 22) from the same site.

58 Nygaard, S. E. and Talbot, M. R., ‘Stone Age archaeology and environment on the southern Accra Plains, Ghana’, Norw. Arch. Rev., xvii (1984), 1938.

59 Chenorkian, R., ‘Note sur l'industrie lithique de l'amas coquiller de N'Gaty (Basse Côte d'lvoire)’, Travaux du Lab. d'Anthrop. et de Préhist. des pays de la Médit. Occident. (Aix-en-Provence, 1981). No details on the context or provenance of the dated samples have been provided by the collector, R. Pomel.

60 Summarized in Chenorkian, R., ‘Ivory Coast prehistory: some recent developments’, Afr. Arch. Rev., 1 (1983), 127142. This includes a number of unpublished 14C dates which are not reported here in view of the lack of even the most meagre detail on the dated samples.

61 Delibrias, G., Guillier, M., and Labeyrie, J., ‘Gif. natural radiocarbon measurements IX’, Radiocarbon, xxiv (1982), 306.

62 Flight, C., ‘A survey of recent results in the radiocarbon chronology of northern and western Africa’,. J. Afr. Hist., xiv (1973), 547.

63 Polet, J., pers. comm. dated 8/6/82. The Nyamwan dates (Dak-202, Ny-408) were previously reported by Sutton, ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 299.

64 Chenorkian, R., Delibrias, G., Paradis, G., ‘Une Industrie microlithique datée de 13050 bp environ découverte en Côte-d'Ivoire dans la terre-de-barre’, Trav. du L.A.P.M.O. (Aix en-Provence, 1982).

65 Grébenart, D., ‘Les métallurgies du cuivre et du fer autour d'Agadez (Niger), des origines au début de la periode médiévale’, in Echard, , Métallurgies, 109125; Grébenart, D., Le Néolithique final et l'age des métaux autour d' Agadez, Niger, vol. XLIX of Etudes Nigeriennes, in press.

66 Sutton's, report (‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 313) of five of the Copper I dates for Afunfun, site 175, was in error. Dates GIF-5173–5177 in the Appendix correct the earlier report.

67 Grébenart, , ‘Les metallurgies’, 120.

68 A fifteenth-century be date for Chin Tafidet agrees with GIF-4I73 (Calvocoressi and David, ‘A new survey’, 25) from Oroub, which has similar pottery and lithics: Grébenart, D., ‘Recherches de préhistoire au Niger – compte rendu de missions’, in Recherches Sahariennes (Paris, 1979), 213.

69 The long duration of this mode of burial is demonstrated by a thirteenth century ad date (Gif-4237) on another quadrangular funerary monument at Shi Mumenin: Grébenart, , ‘Recherches’, 222224.

70 Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 9; Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 296297.

71 Tylecote, R. F., ‘Early copper slags and copper base metal from the Agadez region of Niger’, J. Hist. Met. Soc., xvi (1982).

72 Grébenart, , ‘Les métallurgies’, 177. For precisely this reason, Bernus objects to considering this phenomenon as part of a ‘Copper Age’: Bernus, S., ‘Découvertes, hypothèses, reconstitution et preuves: le cuivre médiéval d'Azelik-Takedda (Niger)’, in Echard, Métallurgies, 168169.

73 Grébenart, D., ‘Vues générales sur les débuts de la métallurgie du cuivre et du fer autour d'Agades’, presented at the 10th Congr. Int. Union Pre- and Protohist. Sci. (Mexico, 1981).

74 These dates are presented graphically only in Grébenart, D., ‘Les métallurgies’, 120.

75 Grébenart estimates that the combined annual production from all sites in the region did not exceed a few kilograms: ibid., 117.

76 Roset, J. P., ‘Iwelen, un site archéologique de I'époque des chars dans l'Air septentrional, au Niger’, presented at UNESCO colloquium on Libya Antiqua (Paris, 1618 Jan., 1984). Adjacent to the habitation sites are rock engravings of chariots, animals and people portrayed in a ‘tulip-headed’ style.

77 Reported by Paris, F. in Le Programme Azawagh: rapport de mission 1984.

78 Diop, C. A., ‘Datations par la méthode du radiocarbone’, Bull. I.F.A.N., xxxix, sér. B (1977), 466.

79 Three dates reported by Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 25, were also run on the guano that forms the top 1.5 m of the deposits at this site: Lambert, N., ‘Mines et métallurgie antique dans la région d'Akjoujt’, Annales Inst. Maur. Rech. Sci., I (1975), 625.

80 Lambert, N., ‘Nouvelle contribution à l'étude du Chalcolithique de Mauritanie’, in Echard, , Métallurgies, 72.

81 Vernet's, Robert unpublished work at Dhraina is reported in Vernet, La Préhistoire, 550.

82 Lambert, , ‘Nouvelle contribution’, 70.

83 Ibid., 73.

84 Vernet suggests in his thesis (p. 546) that what we are really seeing is a local facies of the Neolithic that was rapidly changed by local invention or outside influence.

85 The role of copper smelting in the development of the sophisticated pyrotechnology necessary for the reduction of iron ores is discussed in Wertime, T. and Muhly, J. D., (eds.), The Coming of the Age of Iron (New Haven, 1980).

86 Grébenart, , for example, mentions the lack of cultural affinity between Copper II sites and the earliest iron-using sites, despite the fact that they overlap in time: ‘Les metallurgies’, 115.

87 McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘The Inland Niger Delta before the Empire of Mali: evidence from Jenné-jeno’, J. Afr. Hist., xxiii (1981), 122.

88 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., Prehistoric Investigations in the Region of Jenné, Mali, Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology 2 (Oxford, 1980), 448.

89 McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘The 1981 field season at Jenné-jeno: preliminary results’, Nyame Akuma, xx (1982), 2832.

90 The nine dates resulting from this work have already been reported in this journal: Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 23; Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’ 311.

91 The following dates reported in the appendix are associated with pottery of this early period: RL-1574, 1575, 1576, 1580, 1581, 1619, 1620, 1621, 1622. Of these, only RL-1575 is anomalous. These dates agree very well with Phase I/II dates already reported: RL-807, P-2679, P-2742.

92 Relevant dates are RL-1573, 1577, 1578, 1618, which agree very well with previously reported dates RL-808 and P-2682.

93 Dates RL-1571 and 1617 agree with RL-806 and P-2772, previously reported. RL-1616 dates the most recent feature excavated, a house foundation lying just below the surface.

94 Detailed in McIntosh, and McIntosh, , Prehistoric Investigations, 451452.

95 See Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 23, and Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 311.

96 Person, A., Valladas, H., Fontes, P., Barry, I., Saliège, J.-F., ‘Prospection archéometrique de sites du delta interieure du Niger: quelques datations et données céramologiques’, presented at 3rd West Afr. Arch. Assoc. meeting (Dakar, 810 December 1981), kindly provided by Alain Person and Jean-François Saliège.

97 Saliège, J-F., Person, A., Barry, I., Fontes, P., ‘Premières datations de tumulus prèislamiques au Mali: site mègalithique de Tondidarou’, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, ccxci, sér. D (8 décembre 1980), 981984.

98 Fontes, P., Dembélé, M., Raimbault, M., Sidibé, S., ‘Prospection archéologique de tumulus et de buttes tumuliformes dans la région des lacs au Mali’, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, CCCi, ser. III, no. 5 (1985), 207212. We are grateful to Pierre Fontes for sending us this information when it was in press.

99 Ibid., 209. Although the charcoal samples from these sites were associated with fired clay features characteristic of funerary tumuli in the region, the authors describe these as ‘buttes tumuliformes’ rather than tumuli, leaving open the question of their function.

100 Person et al., ‘Prospection archéometrique’. A fifteenth century TL date on a surface sherd is also available for this site, although only limited significance can be claimed for a date on contextless, undescribed material.

101 Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 305.

102 Haaland, R., ‘Man's role in the changing habitat of Mema during the Old Kingdom of Ghana’, Norw. Arch. Rev., XIII (1980), 3146.

103 Evin, J., Maréchal, J., Marien, G., ‘Lyon Natural Radiocarbon Measurements x’, Radiocarbon, xxvii (1985), 418.

104 Berthier, S., ‘Fouille d'un ensemble d'habitations, quartier de la mosquée, site de Koumbi Saleh’, presented at 3rd West Afr. Arch. Assoc. meeting (Dakar, 1981).

105 This is evident when the following dates are plotted with just one standard error: Ly-2532, 2533, 2504 (basal Level o); 2534, 2535, 2536 (Level I); 2537, 2538, 2505, 2506 (Level II); 2508 (Level III); 2540 (Level IV); 2509 (Level V).

106 See Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 304305.

107 Devisse, J., ‘L'apport de l'archéologie a l'histoire de l'Afrique Occidentale entre le Ve et le XIIe siècle’, C. R. Acad. Inscrip. et Belles-lettres (Paris 1982) 156177.

108 Thilmans, G. and Ravisé, A., Protohistoire du Sénégal, II: Sinthiou Bara et les Sites du Fleuve, Mém. de l'I.F.A.N., no. 91 (Dakar, 1980), 8687. Dates Ly-1741–45 and Gif-4522 agree well with dates previously reported by Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 14, 28.

109 These sites include Kiffa and Kroufa in southern Mauritania, and Podor, 200 km downriver from Sinthiou Bara. Thilmans, G., ‘Sur les objets de parure trouvés à Podor (Sénégal) en 1958’, Bull, de l'I.F.A.N., xxxix, sér. B (1977), 687.

110 DAK-2I3, Ly-2033, Ly-1937. Ly-1603 is anomalous. Evin, J., Maréchal, J., Marien, G., ‘Lyon Natural Radiocarbon Measurements ix’, Radiocarbon, xxv (1983), 89; Diop, C. A., ‘Datations par la méthode du radiocarbone: série v’, Bull, de l'I.F.A.N., XLIII, sér. B (1981), 1112.

111 Evin, et al. , ‘Lyon ix’, 90. A fourth date, Ly-2159, is too old, probably due to older organic matter incorporated into the burned wall material that was dated.

112 Ibid., 89.

113 Thilmans, and Ravisé, , Protohistoire, 134189.

114 Over 40,000 low furnaces were counted in this small area alone. Robert-Chaleix, D. and Sognane, M., ‘Une Industrie métallurgique ancienne sur la rive mauritanienne du fleuve Sénégal’, in Echard, , Métallurgies, 4562.

115 Thilmans, and Ravisé, , Protohistoire, 132.

116 Ly-1156, 1781, 1782: Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 304, 311.

117 Evin, et al. , ‘Lyon ix’, 88.

118 Gallay, A., Pignat, G., Curdy, P., ‘Mbolop Tobé (Santhiou Kohel, Sénégal). Contribution à la connaissance du mégalithisme sénégambian’, Archives Suisses d'Anth. Gen. 4, 6, 2 (Geneva, 1982), 217259.

119 Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 3.

120 Diop, , ‘Datations IV’, p. 464; Diop, , ‘Datations v’, 910.

121 Saison, B., ‘Azugi, archéologie et histoire’, Recherche, Pédagogie et Culture, no. 55, ix (1981), 6674.

122 Gif-5331, 5332, 5333. This is the only information provided on these three dates in Saison, ibid., 74. These dates agree with Gif-5334 obtained on charcoal from a rubbish pit inside the citadel.

123 Gado, B., ‘Boura: une nécropole à inhumation secondaire dans des jarres anthropomorphes’, presented at the West Afr. Arch. Assoc. meetings (Nouakchott, 1984). We are grateful to Lisa Wayne for bringing this communication to our attention.

124 Gado, B., Les Zarmatarey: Contribution à l'histoire des populations d'entre Niger et Dallol Mawri, Etudes Nigériennes, XLV (Niamey, 1980), 73.

125 Gado, , ‘Boura’. These dates may be relevant to a previously reported date for the tumulus of Dallol Bosso at Rozi: Calvocoressi and David, ‘A new survey’, 26.

126 Gado, , Zarmatarey, 6973.

127 Gado, , ‘Boura’.

128 Roset, J.-P., ‘Un site à céramique peinte dans l'Air oriental (Niger)’, Cah. O.R.S.T.O.M., sér. Sci. Hum., xiv, (1977), 337346.

129 Reported by Cressier, P., Bernus, S. and Bernus, E., in ‘Le Programme Azawagh’.Bernus, S. considers the early date ‘doubtful’, and cautions that much more work is required to clarify the chronology of the site.

130 These dates are shown graphically in Grébenart, , ‘Les métallurgies’, 120, and are relevant to three dates already reported for the site by Posnansky, and McIntosh, , ‘New radiocarbon’, 183. All dates except the earliest were run on charcoal associated with crucibles.

131 Bourhis, J.-R., ‘Résultats des analyses d'objets en cuivre, bronze, laiton et des résidus de métallurgie antique d'Afrique’, in Echard, , Metallurgies, 133134.

132 DAK-216–219, 221, Gif-5109, 5110: see Appendix.

133 Kiéthéga, J. B., L'Or de la Volta Noire (Paris, 1983).

134 McIntosh, S. K., review of L'Ordela Volta Noire, J. Afr. Hist., xxvi (1985), 410412.

135 For a preliminary report on the 1981 excavations, see Agbaje-Williams, B. and Onyango-Abuje, J., ‘Recent archaeological work at Old Oyo: 1979–81’, Nyame Akuma (1981), 911. We are grateful to B. Agbaje-Williams for providing the dates in advance of publication.

136 HAR-1890 and 1891: Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 1920.

137 Information kindly provided in advance of publication by B. Agbaje-Williams.

138 Shaw, C. T., ‘Further light on Igbo-Ukwu, including new radiocarbon dates’, Proceedings, 9th Panafr. Cong. Prehist. Quat. Studs., Jos, 1983, in press.

139 I-2008 on wood from burial stool, Igbo Richard, and HV-1514–1516, I-1784, all on charcoal from Igbo Jonah: see Shaw, C. T., ‘Those Igbo-Ukwu radiocarbon dates: facts, fictions, and probabilities’, J. Afr. Hist., xvi (1975), 503517.

140 Ibid., 515.

141 Shaw, , ‘Further light’. Evidence from analysis of metals from Igbo Ukwu shows that the copper used was not from Azelik, nor from the north of the Sahara. Several reports of copper and tin deposits in Nigeria offer possibilities deserving investigation.

142 S-2372, Beta-7855, SFU-275, 392, Alpha-563, 3-CX.

143 Kense, F., ‘Daboya, A Gonja Frontier’ (unpub. Ph.D. thesis, Calgary, 1981), 280, 297. We are grateful to Frank Kense for sending us a copy of his thesis.

144 The last ten dates listed in the Appendix are relevant to this period. The most recent occupation encountered yielded iron cans and a 1919 West African penny. Kense, F., ‘1983 field report on Daboya’, Nyame Akuma, xxiii (1983), 10.

145 Agorsah, E. K., ‘An ethnoarchaeological study of settlement and behaviour patterns of a West African traditional society: the Nchumura of Ghana’ (unpub. Ph.D. diss., U.C.L.A., 1983).

146 Keteku, E., ‘Akwamu empire at Nyanawase: myth or reality?’, Nyame Akuma, xiii (1978), 1113.

147 Keteku, E., ‘Radiocarbon dates from Nyanawase’, Nyame Akuma, xxiv/xxv (1984), 4.

148 Ozanne, P., ‘Ghana’, in Shinnie, P. (ed), The African Iron Age (Oxford, 1971), 64. Ozanne's conclusion was based on his now-classic tobacco pipe sequence, and supported by traditional and documentary sources.

149 The same caveats apply to previously reported dates for nearby sites in Ghana, such as Ladoku and Ayawaso: Sutton, , ‘Archaeology in West Africa’, 308. A modern date on shell from basal levels of the latter site (clearly datable to the seventeenth century by imports, tobacco pipes and historical documents) further illustrates the point.

150 Nzewunwa, N., A Sourcebookfor Nigerian Archaeology, Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments (1983), 107108. Two nineteenth century dates have previously been reported from Ogoloma: Posnansky, and McIntosh, , ‘New Radiocarbon dates’, 190.

151 Eluyemi, O., reporting in Nyame Akuma, xvii (1980), 41.

152 Eluyemi, O., ‘Egbejoda excavations, Nigeria, 1970’, West Afr.J. Arch., vi (1976), 101108.

153 Calvocoressi, and David, , ‘A new survey’, 19.

154 Nzewunwa, , Sourcebook, 3940.

155 Ibid., 42–3.

156 Dates for Baha Mound were reported in this journal by Flight, , ‘A survey of recent results in the radiocarbon chronology of northern and western Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., xiv (1973). 548, and for Yelwa RS63/32 by Pagan, ibid., x (1969), 153.

157 Nzewunwa, , Sourcebook, 8788.

158 Connah, G., ‘An archaeological exploration in southern Borno’, Afr. Arch. Rev., II (1984), 153171.

159 De Barros, P., ‘The Iron Industry of Bassar’ (unpub. Ph.D. thesis, U.C.L.A., 1985). We are grateful to Phil de Barros for providing a comprehensive date list in advance of publication. In writing our comments on the 18 radiocarbon dates, we have relied upon Barros, De, ‘Les Bassar: producteurs du fer à grande échelle dans la savane ouest-africaine’, Proceedings, 9th Cong. Panafr. Prehist. Quat. Studs., in press.

160 Sutton, J. E. G., ‘Dawu – radiocarbon results’, Archaeology in Ghana, III (in press). We are grateful to John Sutton for sending comments in advance of publication.Sutton, J. E. G., ‘New work at Dawu, southern Ghana’, Nyame Akuma, xviii (May 1981), 1113.

161 We are grateful to Jean Polet for communicating this date to us.

162 Ly-2817: Evin, et al. , ‘Lyon dates x’, 417.

163 Rivallain, J., ‘Problèmes méthodologiques posés par des sites côders de Côte d'lvoire’, presented at 9th Cong. Panafr. Prehist. Quat. Studs., Jos, 1983.

164 We thank Chris de Corse for providing details in advance of publication.

165 De Corse, C., ‘An archaeological survey of protohistoric defensive sites in Sierra Leone’, Nyame Akuma, xvii (1980), 4853; Atherton, J., ‘Protohistoric habitation sites in northeastern Sierra Leone’, Bull. Soc. Roy. Beige d'Anth. et Prehist., LXXXIII (1972), 517.


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