Friday, 21 August 2009

Tuareg Trade & Archaeobotany

A new article in the latest Azania (in its new format), reports on the excavations at Tadmakka, in northeast Mali, carried out by Sam Nixon in recent years. These excavations of about 5 meters of stratigraphy produced a wide range of evidence for trans-Saharan trade between ca. 750 and 1400 AD, with a very significant cultural change, interpreted as 'Tuaregization' (a more Nomadic turn) from about 1300 AD. This article focuses on the material culture, the sequence, but includes summary comments on the animals and plant remains. Full details of the archaeobotany (carried out at UCL) are forthcoming.

This site provides the earliest significant evidence of trans-Saharan trade, including specifically gold trade and local gold coin production. Plant evidence also suggests a mixture of local crop-procduction, wild plant gathering and possible trade in grains; of particular interest is the evidence for free-threshing wheats-- but more on that when the archaeobotany is published. Some more information on the project is already available on-line here.

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