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Title: The archaeology of social organisation at Tongo Maaré diabal
Author: Gestrich, N.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Since the 1970s, research on the first millennium AD in the Middle Niger has shed light on a fascinating episode of the world's history. Written records and oral histories hint at the existence of large polities and great wealth, while archaeological research has documented the development of urbanism and long-distance trade networks, and attempted to locate legendary capitals and trace migrations. In contrast, we know very little about the life of non-urban localities and societies living at the edge of the great 'empires'. This thesis takes an explicitly social focus to archaeology in the Middle Niger. To this end, excavations were carried out at the medium-sized tell site of Tongo Maarê Diabal (c. AD 400-1100) near Douentza, Mali. Rather than exploring the site's deep stratigraphy, which had already been done by K.C. MacDonald and T. Togola in the 1990s, these excavations opened a large area of the uppermost occupation horizon. Building on this excavation strategy, and using a household- level approach to a wide range of artefactual evidence, this thesis is able to explore themes such as sociocultural diversity, the social use of space, craft specialisation, connections and trade on a local, regional and supra-regional scale. Tongo Maarè Diabal is shown to have been the densely populated home of several lineage groups, which formed part of a network of sites in a culturally diverse region. The site's inhabitants were involved in the production and processing of iron on a large scale, which they probably traded with urbanised areas in the Inland Niger Delta, and upheld a network of influences and connections spanning the Middle Niger and the Niger Bend, even reaching across the Sahara.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available