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Title: Territories, fortresses, and shifting towns : archaeological landscapes of the Upper Casamance (Senegal), 7th-19th C
Author: Canos Donnay, S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 3385
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The Upper Casamance, in southern Senegal, is a region that has witnessed dramatic socio-political changes in the last millennium, including its conquest by the Mali Empire and its prominent role in the Atlantic trade. Yet, until now this region had never been the object of systematic archaeological study. Two seasons of feldwork undertaken in 2013 revealed a landscape of shallow, short-lived sites at odds with the large permanent towns described by historical accounts and oral traditions. I argue in this thesis that the key to reconciling these two sets of evidence lies in a very particular settlement pattern, which I have named 'shifting sedentism', by which villages and towns regularly shifted a few hundred meters, while keeping the name, identity, and institutions of the community intact. Drawing from archaeological data derived from regional survey and the excavation of two sites (Payoungou and Korop), combined with oral traditions, historical documents, and ethnographic examples, this thesis pursues two main themes. First, it documents the previously unexplored archaeological record of the region, both in terms of sites and of material culture, connecting it with known historical narratives, and comparing it with other geographically and culturally relevant areas. Secondly, it explores this notion of shifting sedentism and the different site mobility patterns that have characterised the Upper Casamance over the last millennium, as well as their political and social implications. I suggest that the intersection of these multiple sources illuminates a social and political landscape much more complex than that suggested by any individual source. A landscape characterised by shifting yet permanent towns, fxed sacred sites, and fuctuating military strongholds; whose mobile yet resilient dynamics have shaped the Upper Casamance's history over the last millennium.
Supervisor: MacDonald, K. ; Reynolds, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available