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Title: Building practice and cultural space amongst the Bambara, Senufo and Bozo of Mali : an ethnoarchaeological study
Author: Walicka Zeh, Renata Anna
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis is an ethnoarchaeological study of architecture based on data recorded in a sample of two Bamana, two Senufo and two Bozo villages studied in the Sahel and Savanna zones of Mali. The documentation, includmg a survey of built forms and an examination of their functional qualities, provides the foundation for a comparative analysis of the effects of social, economic and religious factors in the spatial development of settlements, as well as residential units (such as households and compounds). Such analysis, carried out with an appreciation of relevant environmental and historical contexts, has uncovered some patterns of architectural design and spatial organisation that are shared by each group, and others which show differences specific to each group's building practice. Consistent within the village sample, for instance, is the existence of residential groupings as determined by lineage organisation, comprising a variation of house forms and structures with specific functional properties. The occurrence, however, of rectangular, square or circular houses and function-specific structures (such as entry houses, shrines, granaries, ovens, and compound wails), show patterns that may be deemed characteristic of each of the three groups. The significance of knowing these patterns is that they are indicative of processes which shape architecture and provide a means for defining different dimensions of social, economic and religious systems. As such, they have implications for improving our understanding of the correlation between social and spatial organisation. More importantly, for the archaeologist, the results have an application in resolving questions about the interpretation of ancient mud-brick structural remains in West Africa. This is not by offering a set-answer model, but by providing an understanding of the basic architectural and spatial grammar of Malian villages. Thus, by using careful analogy, the data has relevance to explaining, in general, the type and manner in which architectural elements combine to form habitations, and, more specifically, how the different residential units provide material expression of the occupant social groups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available