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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Dhar Néma: from early agriculture to metallurgy in southeastern Mauritania
Author:MacDonald, Kevin C.ISNI
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
Geographic term:Mauritania
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00671990902811330
Abstract:This paper presents the final research results of survey and test excavation work carried out since 2000 in Dhar Néma, easternmost of the Tichitt escarpment chain in southeastern Mauritania. Two sites in particular are examined: the settlement mound of Djiganyai with stratified intermittent occupation between c. 2000 and 800 BC, and the multi-component site of Bou Khzama II, featuring structural elements, inhumations and iron-smelting remains. The paper argues that Dhar Néma, although an ecologically favourable zone, was politically peripheral to te central Tichitt-Walata polity and comparatively sparsely settled. A period of relative regional abandonment, or widespread shifts in settlement, between 1400 and 1100 BC is also noted. Regardless, a range of pre-Tichitt and Tichitt Tradition settlements are documented for the region, including evidence for millet agriculture equivalent in age to that of the Dhar Tichitt region. The paper suggests that the origin of Tichitt agriculture must now be sought in the third millennium BC. Concerning more recent periods, putative new data for first-millennium BC iron metallurgy in the Dhar Néma region are presented and their technical aspects analysed. Finally, a revised hypothesis for the role of incoming Berber populations in the denouement of the Tichitt tradition is considered, with cultural syncretism rather than replacement advocated. Bibliogr., note, sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]