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18 - Urbanisation, Inequality and Political Authority in the Sahara

from Part III - Neighbours and Comparanda

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

Martin Sterry
Affiliation:
University of Durham
David J. Mattingly
Affiliation:
University of Leicester
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Summary

Recent archaeological research has shown that Garamantian civilisation was much more extensive than previously thought, allowing for surprisingly high population density, agricultural exploitation and urbanisation. This, then, poses the question of how to make sense of the available material, and how to best describe the Garamantian polity and its evolution. Several aspects of the archaeological and historical record are at issue here: the nature of settlements and their interrelation, their connections with the surrounding political and economic landscape, their ecology and economic base, and the nature and organisation of their polity. Most recent publications have interpreted these features as necessary components of one coherent political complex, conveniently labelled as an ‘early state’. Thus, Wilson describes the Garamantes as a ‘substantial agriculturally-based trading state’.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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