Stump, Dr. Daryl, U. of York, York, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Long-term History of Indigenous Agriculture and Conservation Practices in Konso, Ethiopia'
Preliminary abstract: The twin concepts of sustainability and conservation that are so pivotal within current debates regarding economic development and biodiversity protection both contain an inherent temporal dimension, since both refer to the need to balance short-term gains with long-term resource maintenance. This point is not lost on proponents of resilience theory or advocates of development based on â€˜indigenous knowledgeâ€™, some of whom have argued for the necessity of including an archaeological, historical or palaeoenvironmental component within development project design. Although this suggests a renewed contemporary relevance for several anthropological sub-disciplines, it also raises theoretical and methodological concerns regarding archaeological imperatives for â€˜heritageâ€™ preservation, questions of local ownership, and long-standing debates about impartiality and political engagement. Moreover, it also prompts the fundamental question as to whether anthropology can truly claim to see and translate indigenous knowledge in the recent and distant past. The project outlined here is exploring these issues through a combination of archaeological, geoarchaeological, archival and interview-based research on the complex agro-ecological system at Konso, southwest Ethiopia; a system which is thought at present to have originally developed some 500 years ago, and has been described as comprising one of a select few 'lessons from the past' by a United Nations report on land conservation and rehabilitation in Africa (FAO 1990). The study aims to place the modern Konso agricultural system within its long-term context and to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the various ways in which anthropological research can engage with developmental and conservationist narratives.
Falgueres, Dr. Christophe, Museum National D'histoire Naturelle, Paris, France - To aid conference on 'Modern Man in Northern Africa: Chronology, Behavior and Cultural Heritage,' 2015, Rabat, Morocco, in collaboration with Dr. Mohamed El Hajraoui
Preliminary abstract: The project aims in meeting several searchers coming from different labs from Canada, France, Morocco, Italy and to enlarge to other labs from Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria. The main scopes are dedicated to geochronology, caracterisation methods applied to global heritage since the origin of Modern humans to the historic period in Maghreb. Two main subjects will be discussed :1.) Chronology and behavior of Modern Man since its origins about 130 000 years in Maghreb area; and 2) Caracterisation of pigments and colorants using different non invasive and portable methods in the frame of cultural heritage.The goals are:to establish the state of the art of the research in Morocco and discuss the results obtained since the last 5 years in Morocco; to reinforce the dialog between teams who are working in Morocco and to enlarge collaborations to other countries such as Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal in order to reconstruct the history of Modern Man in Northern Africa and his behavior from a cultural point of view. In 2010, a first meeting was organized by UQAM at Montreal. This previous colloquium allowed a good synergy between labs and inititated several collaborations in which phd students were involved. In 2013, a new edition was organized by MNHN-CNRS, Paris, involving Moroccan labs. In 2015, the next conference in Rabat is intended to consolidate these collaborations and initiate new prospectives for research and training.
Walshaw, Dr. Sarah Catherine, Simon Fraser U., Burnaby, Canada - To aid research on 'Food Production Viewed from the Fields: Contributions from Swahili Ethnoarchaeology on Pemba Island, Tanzania'
DR. SARAH C. WALSHAW, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Food Production Viewed from the Fields: Contributions from Swahili Ethnoarchaeology on Pemba Island, Tanzania.' Archaeological plant assemblages from several communities on Pemba Island, Tanzania, contain significant amounts of grain and chaff, suggesting that rice and pearl millet were stored in a largely unprocessed form. Ethnoarchaeological research was undertaken among farming communities on Pemba Island, where rice, sorghum, and pearl millet are farmed using non-mechanized techniques (such as hand-harvesting) to model the small-scale tropical farming systems of the Swahili. Observation of, and participation in, farming on Pemba Island helped explain several patterns seen archaeologically. First, hand harvesting eliminated weeds in the field and may be implicated in the infrequency of weed seeds in ancient houses and middens. Second, grains for food and seed were stored in the house to permit monitoring of amount and condition. Third, grains were reportedly stored in their husks to reduce loss from microbial and insect infestation, pest predation, and human over-use and theft. Labor constraints also posed significant pressures in this household-based agricultural economy, leading harvesters to spread the arduous tasks of processing throughout the year -- small amounts of grain were processed for each day's meal as required. This study demonstrates some of the agricultural and social motives for household-based agricultural practices, and provides a model for interpreting archaeobotanical patterns evident in ancient small-scale rice and millet farming systems.
Walshaw, Sarah, 2010. Converting to rice: urbanization, Islamization and crops on Pemba Island, Tanzania, AD 700-1500. World Archaeology 42:(1) 137-154.
Janzen, Anneke, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Mobility and Herd Management among Early Pastoralists in East Africa,' supervised by Dr. Diane Gifford-Gonzalez
ANNEKE JANZEN, then a graduate student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was granted funds in October 2012 to aid research on 'Mobility and Herd Management among Early Pastoralists in East Africa,' supervised by Dr. Diane Gifford-Gonzalez. Cattle-based pastoralism emerged in Kenya around 3000 years ago and has adapted with changes in the social and ecological landscape to this day. Ethnographic research documented significant changes in herding strategies among pastoral groups throughout colonial and post-colonial periods. Stable isotope analysis elucidates whether mobility was crucial in maintaining herds before agricultural populations entered in the region. Sequential sampling of livestock tooth enamel presents an isotopic record of diet during tooth formation, and reflects individual animals' movements across the landscape. Analyses were done on teeth of modern livestock with known life histories to confirm the usefulness of these methods for East African archaeological dentitions. Livestock teeth from Savanna Pastoral Neolithic sites in the Central Rift Valley and neighboring plains of Kenya were then analyzed for their strontium stable isotope composition, which tracks movements across geologically distinct environments. Monitoring such movements across a landscape required establishing a baseline strontium isotope map of the region. Animals with small home ranges were collected throughout the study area, yielding strontium signatures for local environments. Results show low mobility among early pastoralists, indicating that the more dynamic mobility patterns seen among East African pastoralists today developed relatively recently.
Lyons, Dr. Diane Elaine, U. of Calgary, Calgary, Canada - To aid research on 'The Yeha Pottery Project'
DR. DIANE E. LYONS, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, was awarded a grant in October 2011 to aid research on 'The Yeha Pottery Project.' Material signatures of marginalized identities of female market potters living near Yeha in central Tigray, northern highland Ethiopia. were investigated. The study builds upon a previous study of market potters in eastern Tigray and provides a regional comparison. In Tigray and other societies across sub-Saharan Africa, different types of artisans are marginalized. The antiquity of these practices is unknown, but such practices are implicated in the construction of social complexity. Ethnoarchaeological field research determined the Yeha area potters' technological style, which is a material identity for each potter community. Comparison of the two studies shows that Tigray's central and eastern potters produce similar pottery types, but they use distinct technological styles. INAA analysis of pottery samples demonstrates distinct chemical signatures for the pottery from the two regions. Technological styles and INAA analyses can be used to track the history and interaction of these potter communities in the ancient past. Both regions express some spatial marginalization of potter communities, and in both contexts potters experience verbal insults, greater poverty than their farmer neighbors, and sometimes violence in clay mining extraction. When potters are compared with more stigmatized blacksmiths, a landscape of socially meaningful places associated with these stigmatizing practices emerges.
Mussi, Dr. Margherita, U. of Rome, Rome, Italy - To aid workshop on 'The Emergence of the Acheulean in East Africa,' 2013, U. of Rome, in collaboration with Dr. Rosalia Gallotti
Preliminary abstract: The end of the Oldowan, and the origin of the Acheulean, are widely debated in Early Stone Age studies. In East Africa, there is now solid geochronological evidence pointing to the emergence of the Acheulean between 1.76 and 1.4 Ma. New approaches to lithic collections, including analysis of lithic technology, also put into question previous techno-typological definitions. Doubts have aroused on the hypothesis of a coexistence of Developed Oldowan and Early Acheulean.Despite ongoing discussions, however, the tempo and mode of technological changes leading to the emergence of the Acheulean are still poorly understood. This has wide implications outside Africa, as the Acheulean is also found in Europe and Asia The aim of the proposed workshop is to bring together for the first time researchers currently working in this field in East Africa, in order to define: 1) the characteristics of the Early Acheulean; 2) the evolution of the Early Acheulean.The role of the Early Acheulean in the emergence of the Acheulean outside Africa will not be dealt into any detail. However, the outcome of the workshop will also pave the way to better understanding dispersals into other continents, and/or typo-technological convergences.
Braun, Dr. David R., George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid workshop on 'From a Landscape Perspective: Papers in Honor of Prof. J. W. K. Harris,' 2015, Leakey Foundation, San Francisco, CA, in collaboration with Dr. Emmanuel Ndiema
Preliminary abstract: A central question of anthropology, as a whole, and archaeology in particular, is the way in which humans pattern their activities relative to the geographic distribution of social and ecological contexts. In archaeology this is reflected in the diversity of material culture found at different places in ancient landscapes. The approach focuses on the dynamics of human interaction with specific contextual variables through the examination of the cultural and behavioral ecology of humans across a landscape. Although this approach was recognized as essential to our understanding of the human past in Africa nearly 40 years ago (Isaac and Harris 1980), the results of the major application of this work are only now coming to fruition. This session will present an important review of ecologically based landscape approaches to prehistory with the work of the major session participants representing the application of this methodology from four continents. In addition, this session coincides with the retirement of Professor J. W. K. Harris and the participants of the session reflect the international breadth of his student's and colleague's application of his pioneering work on the interaction between humans and landscapes.
Richard, Francois G., Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'Landscapes of Complexity: An Archaeological Study of Sociopolitical Change in Siin (Senegal), AD 1000-1900,' supervised by Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse
FRANCOIS G. RICHARD, while a student at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, received funding in January 2003 to aid archaeological research on sociopolitical change in Siin (Senegal) from 1000 to 1900 c.e., under the supervision of Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse. Richard examined long-term changes in political complexity and social landscapes in Siin through the combined lenses of archaeology, historical documents, and oral traditions. This region was a vibrant frontier, intimately connected to Senegambia's turbulent political economy and history of migrations, cultural encounters, and oscillations between centralized and dispersed social organization. To capture local expressions of these social processes, Richard conducted a systematic survey of three zones associated with state formation, identifying more than 180 sites ranging from late Neolithic to recent historic occupations. Limited subsurface testing was done at seven sites. The archaeological work was complemented by an examination of archives to gain insights into regional dynamics during the historic period. Collected surface and excavated materials were expected to enable Richard to (1) create a regional baseline of information on site distribution, settlement layout, subsistence economy, long-distance trade, and technology; (2) establish a chronological framework for regional sites; (3) document Siin's sociopolitical trajectories through village dynamics and settlement networks; and (4) examine variations in settlement patterns and artifact assemblages in order to understand how local societies responded to Senegambia's changing political economy.