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The Pulse Model: Genesis and Accommodation of Specialization in the Middle Niger*

  • Roderick J. McIntosh (a1)

By the mid-first millennium a.d., Middle Niger cities took the form of many separate mounds clustered together. Many of these mounds may have been settlements of specialists. This distinctive city form may have had its origin in segmented, but articulated, Late Stone Age communities in the southern Sahara. The Pulse Model is an attempt to reconstruct the circumstances of environmental change and interactions among these communities that encouraged occupational specialization. The model predicts the best locations to search for evidence of early specialization, namely the several north–south trending palaeochannels of the southern Sahara. There, groups increasingly concerned with intensification of production within separate microenvironments would nevertheless have been in close contact. Climate shifts over the past several millennia create a ‘pulse’ of population movements, or shifts of ecological adaptations, along these long corridors. However, adaptation to climate change and stress incompletely explains the emergence of specialization. Tradition, myths, legends and material reinforcements of divisions between present-day ethnic and artisan groups in the Middle Niger suggest the ways in which corporate identity may have been constructed and maintained in the very distant past. If corporate identity can emerge in a form that discourages conflict between groups, the result might be increasingly specialized responses to climate change and to the economic and social opportunities of early urbanism. There should be no sharp discontinuity between the emerging specialization of the last millennia b.c. and the earlier clustered urbanism of cities such as Jenne-jeno. Middle Niger urbanism is an intensification of prehistoric social dynamics, not a revolutionary process.

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1 In the Upper Delta near Jenne (see Fig. 9)– McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., Prehistoric Investigations in the Region of Jenne, Mali (Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology, No. 2) (Oxford, 1980); in the Niger Bend near Timbuktu – McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘Archaeological reconnaissance in the region of Timbuktu, Mali’, National Geographic Research, II (1986), 302–19; in the Macina near Haskell, Dia-H., McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., Archaeological Reconnaissance in the Region of Dia, Mali (Final report to the National Geographic Society, 1988), and in the Togola, Méma - T., ‘Archaeological investigations of Iron Age sites in the Méma’ (Paper presented at the 1992 meetings of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists, Los Angeles).

2 McIntosh, R. J., ‘Floodplain geomorphology and human occupation of the upper Inland Delta of the Niger’, Geographical Journal, CXLIX (1983), 182201; McIntosh, R. J., ‘Early urban clusters in China and Africa: the arbitration of social ambiguity’, Journal of Field Archaeology, XVIII (1991), 199212; McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘From siècles obscurs to revolutionary centuries in the Middle Niger’, World Archaeology, XX (1988), 146–58; S. K. McIntosh and R. J. McIntosh, Prehistoric Investigations; McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘The early city in West Africa: towards an understanding’, The African Archaeological Review, II (1984), 7398.

3 McIntosh, R. J., ‘Early urban’, 204–6; McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘Dilettantism and plunder: dimensions of the illicit traffic in ancient Malian art’, UNESCO Museum, CXLIX (1986), 56.

4 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘Archaeological reconnaissance’, 315–17, Fig. 2.

5 McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘From siècles’, 150 and Fig. 6; H. Haskell, S. K. McIntosh and R. J. McIntosh, Archaeological Reconnaissance.

6 T. Togola, ‘Archaeological investigations’; there are reports of clustered settlement patterns in the Lakes Region of the Middle Niger (between the Mema and the Niger Bend). However, because these observations were made unsystematically, it is impossible for the moment to assign urban status to these clusters – see Dembélé, M., ‘Les recherches organisées par la Division du patrimoine culturel’, in Raimbault, M. and Sanogo, K. (eds.), Recherches archéologiques au Mali: les sites protohistoriques de la Zone Lacustre (Paris, 1991), 174–84; Desplagnes, L., Le plateau central nigérien (Paris, 1907), 55; Mauny, R., Tableau géographique de l'Ouest Africain au moyen âge (Mémoire de l'Institut Français d'Afrique Noire, No. 61) (Dakar, 1961), 104–7.

7 McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘From siècles’, 147–51.

8 McIntosh, R. J., ‘Ancient terracottas before the Symplegades gateway’, African Arts, XXII (1989), 7483, 103–4; McIntosh, R. J., ‘Early urban clusters’, 199212; McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘Dilettantism and plunder’, 56–7.

9 LaViolette, A. J., ‘An archaeological ethnography of blacksmiths, potters, and masons in Jenne, Mali (West Africa)’ (Ph.D. thesis, Washington University, 1987), 154, 164–5.

10 McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘From siècles’, 146–53; S. K. McIntosh and R. J. McIntosh, ‘The early city’.

11 Tamari, , ‘The development of caste systems in West Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., XXXII (1991), 221–35.

12 Monteil, C., Monographie de Djénné (Tulle, 1903), 31–2; Delafosse, M., Haut-Sénégal-Niger (2 vols.) (Paris, 1912), i, 253–70.

13 McIntosh, S. K., ‘Blacksmiths and the evolution of political complexity in Mande society: an hypothesis’ (Paper read at the School of American Research Advanced Seminar on Complex Societies in Africa, Sante Fe, NM, 1984); McNaughton, P., Nyamakalaw: The Mande Bard and Blacksmiths (Bloomington, 1987); Tamari, , ‘The development’, 241.

14 Young, M. C., ‘Cultural pluralism in the Third World’, in Olsak, S. and Nagel, J. (eds.), Competitive Ethnic Relations (New York, 1987), 113–35.

15 Bentley, G. C., ‘Ethnicity and practice’, Comp. Studies in Soc. Hist., XXIX (1987), 24–7; Cohen, R., ‘Ethnicity problem and focus in Anthropology’, Annual Review of Anthropology, VII (1978), 379–85; Fischer, M. M. J., ‘Ethnicity and the post-modern arts of memory’, in Clifford, J. and Marcus, G. E. (eds.), Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (Berkeley, 1986), 195–7; Vail, L. (ed.), The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa (Berkeley, 1991), 316.

16 Bazin, J., ‘A chacun son Bambara’, in Amselle, J.-L. and Bokolo, E. M. (eds.), Au cosur de l'ethnie (Paris, 1985), 87127; Cochrane, G., ‘Use of the concept of the “corporation”: a choice between colloquialism or distortion’, American Anthropologist, LXXIII (1971), 1144–55; Keddie, N. and Beck, L. (eds.), Women in the Muslim World (Cambridge, 1978); Kuper, A., ‘Lineage theory: a critical retrospect’, Annual Review of Anthropology, XI (1982), 7195.

17 Bazin, , ‘A chacun’, 125.

18 Cohen, , ‘Ethnicity’, 388–96; Fischer, , ‘Ethnicity’, 195–6, 199231.

19 Bentley, , ‘Ethnicity’, 43.

20 Vansina, J., Art History in Africa (London, 1984).

21 Fischer, , ‘Ethnicity’, 198; see also, Bentley, , ‘Ethnicity’, 26–7, 43–8; Cohen, , ‘Ethnicity’, 398; Young, , ‘Cultural pluralism’, 121.

22 There is a growing literature on how artifacts send messages about group identity and boundaries and about the nature of interactions among groups, see: Conkey, M., ‘Boundedness in art and society’, in Hodder, I. (ed.), Symbolic and Structural Archaeology (Cambridge, 1982), 115–28; Conkey, M. and Spector, J., ‘Context, structure and efficacy in paleolithic art and design’, in Foster, M. L. and Braudes, S. H. (eds.), Symbol as Sense (New York, 1980), 225–48; David, N., Sterner, J. and Gavua, K., ‘Why pots are decorated‘, Current Anthropology, XXIX (1988), 365–89; Hodder, I., Symbols in Action (Cambridge, 1982); Plog, S., ‘Analysis of style in artifacts’, Annual Review of Anthropology, XII (1983), 125–42. The finest Africanist work of translating these ethnographic concepts to an archaeological situation of long continuity has been done by members of the Mandara Archaeological Project (Cameroon), directed by N. David and J. Sterner. They have looked at an extraordinary 2000-year tradition of symbolic communication in ceramics: Intra-group identity and action– Sterner, J., ‘Who is signalling whom? Ceramic style, ethnicity, and taphonomy among the Sirah Balahay’, Antiquity, LXIII (1989), 451–9; Communicating group, caste and gender identity to others– Sterner, J., ‘Sacred pots and “symbolic reservoirs” in the Mandara Highlands of northern Cameroon’, in A Commitment to Africa: Festschrift for Peter Shinnie (Calgary, in press), and Sterner, J. and David, N., ‘Gender and caste interactions in the Mandara Highlands’, in Proceedings of the 1989 Chacmool Conference (Calgary, in press).

23 Cohen, , ‘Ethnicity’, 390–1.

24 McIntosh, R. J., ‘Ancient terracottas’, 80; McIntosh, R. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘From siecles’, 155–6.

25 Kimes, T., Haselgrove, C. and Hodder, I., ‘A method for the identification of the location of regional cultural boundaries’, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, I (1982), 113–31

26 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘From stone to metal: new perspectives on the later prehistory of West Africa’, Journal of World Prehistory, II (1988), 100–2, 107–10.

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30 Shortman, E. M., ‘Interregional interaction in prehistory: the need for a new perspective’, American Antiquity, LIV (1989), 57.

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34 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘Current directions in West African prehistory’, Annual Review of Anthropology, XII (1983), 215–58; S. K. McIntosh and R. J. McIntosh, ‘From stone to metal’; Muzzolini, A., ‘Les climats au Sahara et sur ses bordures, du Pléistocène final à l'aride actuel’, Empúries, XLVII (1985), 827.

35 Maley, J., ‘Dust, clouds, rain types and climatic variations in tropical North Africa’, Quaternary Research, XVIII (1982), 116; Talbot, M. R., Livingstone, D., Palmer, P., Maley, J., Melack, J., Delibrias, G. and Gulliksen, S.. ‘Preliminary results from sediment cores from Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana’, Palaeoecology of Africa, XVI (1984), 173–92.

36 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘From stone to metal’, 94; Street, F. A. and Gasse, F., ‘Recent developments in research into the Quaternary climatic history of the Sahara’, in Allan, J. A. (ed.), The Sahara: Ecological Change and Early Economic History (London, 1981), 828.

37 Chamley, H. and Diester-Haass, L., ‘Effets du déplacement de l'embouchure du fieuve Sénégal au Quaternaire supérieur sur la sédimentation de la marge ouest-africaine’, Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, CCXCV (1982), 673–8; Lézine, and Casanova, , ‘Pollen’, 48–9; Monteillet, J., Faure, H., Pirazzoli, P. and Ravise, A., ‘L'invasion saline du Ferlo (Sénégal) à l'Holocène supérieur (1900 b.p.)’, Palaecology of Africa, XIII (1981), 205–15.

38 S. K. McIntosh and R. J. McIntosh, ‘Archaeological reconnaissance’; Petit-Maire, N., ‘Paléoenvironnements holocènes du Sahara Malien’, in Petit-Maire, N. (ed.), Complément 1980–81 aux notices: titres et travaux précédemment fournies (Marseille, 1982), 1331.

39 Cissoko, S.-M., ‘Famines et épidémies à Tombouctou et dans la Boucle du Niger du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle’, Bulletin de l'Institut Fondamental de l'Afrique Noire (B), III (1968), 806–21; Nicholson, S., ‘Saharan climates in historic times’, in Williams, M. A. J., and Faure, H. (eds.), The Sahara and the Nile (Rotterdam, 1980), 173200.

40 Brooks, G., ‘A provisional historical schema for western Africa based on seven climate periods (c. 9,000 B.C. to the 19th century)’, Cah. Ét. Afr., XXVI (1986), 4362; Faure, H., ‘Variabilité et pseudocyclicité du climat au Sahel aux échelles de temps de 10 à 105 ans’ (Paper read at the AFGP colloquium, Climat et Risques Natureles, Paris, 1986); Schove, D. J., ‘Sunspot cycles and weather history’, in Rampino, M. R., Sanders, J. E., Newman, W. S. and Köningsson, L. K. (eds.), Climate History, Periodicity and Predictability (New York, 1987), 355–77.

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43 Faure, H. and Gac, J.-Y., ‘Will the Sahelian drought end in 1985?Nature, CCXCI (1981), 475–78; Lamb, P. J. and Peppier, R. A., ‘West Africa’, in Glantz, M. H., Katz, R. W. and Nicholls, N. (eds.), Teleconnections Linking Worldwide Climate Anomalies (Cambridge, 1991), 121–89; Park, T. K., ‘Early trends towards class stratification: chaos, common property and flood recession agriculture’, American Anthropologist, XCIV (1992), 97–8.

44 Park, , ‘Early trends’, 91.

45 Jacobberger, P., ‘Geomorphology of the upper inland Niger Delta’, Journal of Arid Environments, XIII (1987), 95112; Jacobberger, P., ‘Drought-related changes to geo-morphic processes in central Mali’, Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, C (1988), 351–61; McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘From stone’, 96–7; National Research Council. Environmental Change in the West African Sahel (Washington D.C., 1983); Petit-Maire, N., ‘Homo climaticus: vers une paléoanthropologie écologique’, Bulletin de la Société Royale Beige d'Anthropologic et de Préhistoire, XCVII (1986), 5975.

46 For example: Davies, O.. West Africa Before the Europeans (London, 1967); Flight, C., ‘The Kintampo culture and its place in the economic history of West Africa’, in Harlan, J. R., de Wet, J. M. J. and Stemler, A. M. (eds.), Origins of African Plant Domestication (The Hague, 1976), 216; Smith, A. B., ‘The Neolithic tradition in the Sahara’, in Williams, M. A. J. and Faure, H. (eds.), The Sahara and the Nile (Rotterdam, 1980), 451–66.

47 Smith, A. B., ‘Biogeographical considerations of colonization of the lower Tilemsi Valley in the second millennium b.c’, Journal of Arid Environments, II (1979), 355–61; Stebbings, E. P., ‘The encroaching Sahara: the threat to the West African colonies’, Geographical Journal, LXXXV (1935), 506–24.

48 Mainguet, M., Canon, L. and Chemin, M. C., ‘Le Sahara: géomorphologie et paléo-morphologie éoliennes’, in Williams, M. A. J. and Faure, H. (eds.), The Sahara and the Nile (Rotterdam, 1980), 1736; Maley, ‘Dust clouds’.

49 Jacobberger, ‘Drought-related changes’; Talbot, M. R., ‘Environmental responses to climatic change in the West African Sahel over the past 20,000 years’, in Williams, M. A. J. and Faure, H. (eds.), The Sahara and the Nile (Rotterdam, 1980), 3762.

50 Togola, ‘Archaeological investigations’.

51 Harlan, J., de Wet, J. M. J. and Stemler, A., ‘Plant domestication and indigenous African agriculture’, in Harlan, J., de Wet, J. M. J. and Stemler, A. (eds.), Origins of African Plant Domestication (The Hague, 1976), 319; Harris, D., ‘Traditional systems of plant food production and the origins of agriculture in West Africa’, in Harlan, , de Wet, and Stemler, (eds.), Origins of African Plant Domestication, 311–56.

52 Smith, A. B., ‘Cattle domestication in North Africa’, The African Archaeological Review, IV (1986), 197203.

53 Smith, ‘Biogeographical considerations’.

54 Petit-Maire, N. and Riser, J., ‘Holocene lake deposits and palaeoenvironments in Central Sahara, NE Mali’, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoecology, XXXV (1981), 4561; Petit-Maire, N. and Riser, J. (eds.), Sahara ou Sahel? (Marseille, 1983); see S. K. McIntosh and R. J. McIntosh, ‘Archaeological reconnaissance’.

55 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘Archaeological reconnaissance’, 315–17; Jacobberger and Togola, pers. comm.

56 Gallais, J., Le delta intérieur du Niger (Mémoire de l'Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire, No. 79) (Dakar, 1967); R. J. McIntosh, ‘Floodplain geomorphology’.

57 Smith, , ‘Biogeographical considerations’, 357, 359–60.

58 Talbot, ‘Environmental responses’.

59 Michel, P., Les bassins des fleuves Sénégal et Gambie: étude géomorphologique (Mémoire de l'ORSTOM, No. 63) (Paris, 1973).

60 Durand, A., ‘Oscillations’, 3753.

61 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘Initial perspectives on prehistoric subsistence in the Inland Niger Delta (Mali)’, World Archaeology, XI (1979), 240–1.

62 Gallais, Le delta intérieur; Galloy, P., Vincent, Y. and Forget, M., Nomades et paysans d'Afrique Noire Occidentale (Mémoire des Annales de l'Est, No. 23) (Nancy, 1963). For an alternative hypothesis that predicts vertical social hierarchies and common property as responses to environmental unpredictability along the Senegal River Valley, see Park, ‘Early trends’.

63 Dieterlen, G., Les âmes des Dogon (Travaux et Mémoires de l'Institut d'Ethnologie, No. 40) (Paris, 1941); Griaule, M., ‘l'Alliance cathartique’, Africa, XVIII (1948), 242–58; Sundström, L., Ecology and Symbiosis: Niger Water Folk (Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensia, No. 35) (Uppsala, 1972).

64 Bourgeon, G. and Bertrand, R., ‘Evaluation du milieu naturel des plains alluviales de la Boucle du Niger (Mali) – II. Potentialités’, L'Agronomie Tropicale, XXXIX (1984), 208–15; Gallais, Le delta intérieur; McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘Early Iron Age economy in the Inland Niger Delta (Mali)’, in Clark, J. D. and Brandt, S. A. (eds.), From Hunters to Farmers (Berkeley, 1984), 158–72.

65 Monteil, , Monographie, 35.

66 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 106–8, 400–14; Sundström, , Ecology, 1529.

67 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 108, 438–42.

68 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 255, 282341; Vincent, Y., ‘Pasteurs, paysans et pecheurs du Guimbala’, in Galloy, P., Vincent, Y. and Foget, M. (eds.), Nomades et paysans d'Afrique Noire Occidentale (Mémoire des Annales de l'Est, No. 23) (Nancy, 1963), 37, 5077.

69 Imperato, P., ‘Nomads of the Niger’, Natural History, LXXXI (1972), 60–8, 78–9; Vincent, , ‘Pasteurs’, 4992.

70 Galloy, et al. , Nomades, 1114.

71 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 107.

72 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 84, 108, 438–42; Sundström, , Ecology, 35, 46–8, 50, 56; Tamari, , ‘Development’, 231.

73 Sundström, , Ecology, 56–7, 166.

74 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 94, 112–19, 159; Vincent, , ‘Pasteurs’, 4992.

75 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 8991, 113, 158–9; Brasseur, G., Les établissements humains au Mali (Mémoire d'Institut Fondamental de l'Afrique Noire, No. 83) (Dakar, 1968), 466; Monteil, , Monographie, 320–1; Vincent, , ‘Pasteurs’, 4987.

76 Galloy, et al. , Nomades, 1119.

77 Sundström, , Ecology, 133, 136.

78 Barth, F., ‘Ecological relationships of ethnic groups in Swat, North Pakistan’, American Anthropologist, LVIII (1956), 1088.

79 Tamari, ‘Development’.

80 McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘The Inland Delta before the Empire of Mali: evidence from Jenne-jeno’, J. Afr. Hist., XXII (1981), 1921; McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘Forgotten of Mali: new evidence of urban beginnings in West Africa’, Expedition, XXV (1983), 3940; McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., Prehistoric Investigations, 437–61.

81 Gardi, B., Ein Market wie Mopti (Basel, 1985); LaViolette, ‘Archaeological ethnography’.

82 Griaule, ‘Alliance’; Daget, J., ‘La pêche dans le Delta central du Niger’, Journal de la Société des Africanistes, XIX (1949), 179; Daget, J., ‘La pêche à Diafarabé’, Bulletin de l'Institut Fondemental d'Afrique Noire (B), XVIII (1956), 197; Malzy, P., ‘Les Bozo du Niger et leurs modes de pêche’, Bulletin de l'Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire (B), VIII (1946), 100–32.

83 Fischer, , ‘Ethnicity’, 198.

84 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 78, 108, 158, 423; Sundström, , Ecology, 50–3, 66–8; Daget, ‘La pêche’; Malzy, , ‘Les Bozo’, 102.

85 Sundström, , Ecology, 52–7, 6272.

86 Daget, , ‘La pêche’, 16; Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 79; Sundström, , Ecology, 53.

87 Dieterlen, Les âmes; Sundström, , Ecology, 176–8.

88 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 7884, 109.

89 Sundström, , Ecology, 54.

90 Ibid. 54–5, 162–7.

91 Ibid. 55; Griaule, , ‘l'Alliance’, 257–8.

92 Gallais, , Le delta intérieur, 556–7; Malzy, , ‘Les Bozo’, 131–2; Monteil, , Monographie, 285; Sundström, , Ecology, 52.

93 Griaule, , ‘l'Alliance’, 242–52; Malzy, , ‘Les Bozo’, 110–12; Sundström, , Ecology, 53167.

94 Brasseur, Les établissements; N'Diaye, B.. Groupes ethniques au Mali (Bamako, 1970).

95 Griaule, , ‘1'Alliance’, 243.

96 Sundström, , Ecology, 1819, 30, 54, 69.

97 This is the most probable explanation for the Late Stone Age settlement pattern in the Méma, where sites along the same long levees show strong lithic and faunal variability and where there appear to be at least four contemporaneous ceramic assemblages. But all sites show a uniformity of distribution of polished stone axes, stone arm rings and beads – Togola, ‘Archaeological investigations’; K. MacDonald and T. Togola, pers. comm.

98 Sutton, J. E., ‘The aquatic civilization of Middle Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., XV (1974), 527–46; Sutton, J. E., ‘The African aqualithic’, Antiquity, LI (1977), 2534. See also A. B. Smith, ‘Neolithic tradition’ and ‘Origins of the Neolithic in the Sahara’, in Clark, J. D. and Brandt, S. A. (eds.), From Hunters to Farmers (Berkeley, 1984), 8492.

99 Camps, G., Les civilisation préhistoriques de l'Afrique du Nord et du Sahara (Paris, 1974)

100 David, N., ‘Early Bantu expansion in the context of Central African prehistory: 4000–1 bc’, in Bouquiaux, L. (ed.), L'expansion bantoue (Paris, 1980), 609–47; McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘Current directions’, 229–36; McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘From stone’, 97102; Maitre, J. P., ‘Notes sur deux conceptions traditionelles du néolithique Saharien’, Libyca, XX (1972), 125–36; Maitre, J. P., ‘Nouvelles perspectives sur la préhistoire récente de l'Ahaggar’, Libyca, XXII (1974), 93143; Shaw, T., ‘Holocene adaptations in West Africa: the Late Stone Age’, Early Man News, III–IV (1978), 5181.

101 For example, Smith, , ‘Neolithic traditions’, 140.

102 Decobert, M. and Petit-Maire, N., ‘An early Neolithic midden and necropolis in the Malian Sahara’, Nyame Akuma, XXVI (1985), 2632; Gallay, A., ‘Quelques gisements néolithiques du Sahara malien’, Journal de la Société des Africanistes, XXXVI (1966), 167208; Petit-Maire, ‘Paléoenvironnements holocènes’; Petit-Maire, N., Celles, J.-C., Commelin, D., Delibrias, G. and Raimbault, M., ‘The Sahara in northern Mali: man and his environment between 10,000 and 3500 years b.p.’, The African Archaeological Review, I (1983), 105–25.

103 Petit-Maire and Riser, ‘Holocene lake deposits’; Petit-Maire and Riser, Sahara ou Sahel?

104 Camps, G., Amekni: Neolithique Ancien du Hoggar (Mémoire du CRAPE, No. 10) (Paris, 1968).

105 Descamps, C., La préhistoire au Sénégal (Dakar, 1982); Petit-Maire, N., La Sahara atlantique à l'Holocène: peuplement et écologie (Mémoire du CRAPE, No 28) (Algers, 1979); Petit-Maire, N., ‘Aspects of human activity in the coastal occidental Sahara in the last 10,000 years’, in Allan, J. A. (ed.), Sahara: Ecological Change and Early Economic History (London, 1981), 8191.

106 Clark, J. D., Williams, M. A. J. and Smith, A. B., ‘The geomorphology and archaeology of Adrar Bous, Central Sahara: a preliminary report’, Quaternaria, XVII (1973), 245–98; Smith,‘Origins of the Neolithic’; Vernet, R., La Mauritanie, des origines au debut de l'histoire (Nouakchott, 1986).

107 Camps, Civilisations préhistoriques; Smith, A. B., ‘A microlithic industry from Adrar Bous, Tenere Desert, Niger’, in Abebe, B., Chavaillon, J. and Sutton, J. E. G. (eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh Panafrican Congress of Prehistory and Quaternary Studies (Addis Ababa, 1976), 181–96.

108 Barich, B., ‘La serie stratigraphica dell'uadi Ti-n-Torha’, Origini, VIII (1974), 7182; Close, A. E., ‘Current research and recent radiocarbon dates from northern Africa’, J. Afr. Hist., XXI (1980), 145–67.

109 Holl, A., ‘Subsistence patterns of the Dhar Tichitt Neolithic, Mauritania’, The African Archaeological Review, III (1985), 151–62.

110 Smith, ‘Origins of the Neolithic’.

111 Meggers, B. J., Dias, O. F., Miller, E. T. and Perota, C., ‘Implications of archaeological distributions in Amazonia’, in Vanzolini, P. E. and Heyer, W. R. (eds.), Proceedings of a Workshop on Neotropical Distribution Patterns (Rio de Janeiro, 1988).

112 Meggers, B. J., ‘Archaeological and ethnographic evidence compatible with the model of forest fragmentation’, in Prance, G. T. (ed.), Biological Diversification in the Tropics (New York, 1982), 483–96.

113 Smith, P. E. L., ‘Stone age man on the Nile’, Scientific American, CCXXXV (1976), 33.

114 Clark, J. D., ‘A re-examination of the evidence for agricultural origins in the Nile Valley’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, XXXVII (1971), 4750.

115 Smith, A. B., Sadr, K., Gribble, J. and Yates, R., ‘Excavation in the South-western Cape, South Africa, and the archaeological identity of prehistoric hunter-gatherers within the last 2000 years’, South African Archaeological Bulletin, XLVI (1991), 7191.

116 It would not be premature to mention an international, collaborative project planned to explore these issues in two of, potentially, the most productive southern Saharan palaeochannels. H. Bocoum of the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire (Dakar) and T. Togola of the Institut des Sciences Humaines (Bamako) (with a Mauritanian co-director) will lead survey and excavation along the Vallée du Golgol (from the Middle Senegal Valley north-east to the Hodh depression) and along the Vallée du Serpent and Fala du Molodo (from the Middle Niger [Méma] north-west to the Hodh). In my opinion, this project is the most exciting archaeological work planned for West Africa in the 1990s.

117 R. J. McIntosh, ‘Early urban clusters’; McIntosh, R. J. and McIntosh, S. K., ‘From siècles’, 150–3.

118 McIntosh, S. K. and McIntosh, R. J., ‘From stone to metal’, 101.

* This paper began in October 1988 as a presentation to the African Studies Council of Yale University. It was recast in its present form while I was in residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and by a grant from the National Science Foundation (#BNS 87–00864) to the Center.

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