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Notes on some early pottery cultures in Northern Katanga1

  • Jacques Nenquin

The original draft of this article started with a quotation from O. G. S. Crawford: ‘… Irrelevant theorizing has been the besetting sin of the local archaeologist from the earliest times, and it is time it stopped …’ and continued by giving a rather detailed description of some pottery and metal objects found during the 1957 excavations of the Iron Age cemetery discovered at Sanga on the northern shore of Lake Kisale (northern Katanga). Especially for an area like the (ex-Belgian) Congo, where very little work indeed has ever been done on the protohistoric pottery cultures, we thought it essential first of all to give objectively as close a description as possible of the material remains of these prehistoric communities.

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2 Antiquity, VII, 25 (1933), 3.

3 A short account of the excavations was published in The Illustrated London News, CCXXXIII, 6225 (27 September 1958), 516–18, and in the Ber. V. Intern. Kongress für Voru. Frühgeschichte, Hamburg, 1958 (Berlin, 1961), 601–3. A collection of Kisalian pottery from the Musée royal de l'Afrique centrale at Tervuren was described in the Bull. de la Soc. royale beige dapos;Anthropol. et de Préhist., LXIX (1958), 151–210.

4 Baluba et Balubaīsés du Katanga (Anvers, 1936).See also Burton, W. F. P., ‘The Country or the Baluba in Central Katanga’, The Geographical Journal, LXX, 4 (10 1927), 321–42, and id. Luba Religion and Magic in Custom and Belief (Tervuren, 1961).

5 See below.

6 Verhulpen, E., op. cit., 70–1.

7 Plessis, J. Du, Thrice through the Dark Continent (London, 1917), 306;see also Duclos, Havard,‘Monoraphie de la Chefferie de Kikondja’, Terre-Air-Mer, LIX (1933), 261–83 and 389–408.

8 Names subject to approval by the Commission for Nomenclature of the Panafrican Congress on Prehistory.

9 Nenquin, J., ‘Quelques poteries protohistoriques à face humaine trouvées au Katanga (Congo)’, Jnl. de la Soc. des Africanistes, xxx, 2 (1960), 145–50.

10 i.e. the Ngombe, who use this sort of trilobate bowl in their dug-out canoes. A cultural analogy with the bowls discovered at Sanga is all the more possible, since fishing still forms an essential part of the economic life of the population groups living along the River Lualaba.

11 Nenquin, J., ‘Korte bijdrage tot de protohistorische metaaltechniek in Katanga’, Africa-Tervuren, VII, 4 (1961), 97101.

12 Renewed excavations by Dr J. Hiernaux.

13 See Quiggin, A. H., ‘Trade routes, trade, and currency in East Africa’, Occ. Pap. Rhodes-Livingstone Mus. no. 5 (1949).

14 Clark, J.Desmond, ‘The spread of food production in sub-Saharan Africa’, Journal of African History, III, 2 (1962), 211–28, see pp. 225–6.

15 Radiocarbon analysis made by Dr Oeschger of the Bern Laboratory; see Nenquin, J., ‘Two radiocarbon dates for the Kisalian’, Antiquity,XXV, 140 (12 1961), 312.

16 Summers, R., ‘The Southern Rhodesian Iron Age’, Journal of African History, II, 1 (1961), 113.

17 Fagan, B., ‘Pre-European Ironworking in Central Africa with special reference to Northern Rhodesia’, Journal of African History, II, 2 (1961), 199210;see also Clark, J. D., ‘Carbon 14 chronology in Africa South of the Sahara’, Actes du IVe Congrès Panafricain de Préhistoire et de l'Etude du Quaternaire, II (Tervuren, 1962), 303–13.

18 Summers, R., Inyanga (Cambridge, 1958), especially pp. 534–9, and id. ‘The Southern Rhodesian Iron Age’, Proc. First Federal Science Congress (1962), 431–9;id. ‘The Southern Rhodesian Iron Age’, Journal of African History, II, i (1961), 113.

19 Summers, R., ‘The Southern Rhodesian Iron Age’, Proc. First Federal Science Congress (1962), 432–3.

1 This article is based upon the text of the forthcoming excavation report, Excavations at Sanga, 1957, Part I, to be published by the Musée royal de l'Afrique centrale at Tervuren.

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