The Role of Ethnohistoric Data in Reconstructing
Ancient Siderurgy in Dogon Country (Mali)
Since 2002, research on paleometallurgy in Dogon Country has revealed an exceptional history of siderurgical activity. More than one hundred smelting sites have been recorded, mapped and studied for the first time. Based on technological, cultural and economic criteria, we have attributed these sites to seven different siderurgical traditions. The existence and cohabitation of such diverse metallurgical remains within a limited geographic area (15000 km2) are very surprising. In this paper, we attempt to interpret this archaeological observation with the aid of ethnohistoric data. Based on this comparison of several sources, we propose a new historic scenario retracing the evolution of the traditional production of iron in Dogon Country.
To cite this article
Robion-Brunner C., 2012 – The Role of Ethnohistoric Data in Reconstructing Ancient Siderurgy in Dogon Country (Mali), in F.-X. Fauvelle-Aymar, Palethnology of Africa, P@lethnology, 4, 209-234.
Issues and perspectives of the Alpine Neolithic:
the case of the Maurienne (Savoie – France)
In this paper, we question the significance of “Alpine” research on the Neolithic, applying both a theoretical and practical approach based on the example of the Maurienne valley (Savoie). The adjective “Alpine”, accompanied by that of “Neolithic”, might have only a geographic sense. We nonetheless believe that it makes an implicit reference to the “Alpine economy”, a concept developed by geographers to describe a modern economic system concentrated on the raising of bovids for the production of cheese. Though comparisons between the modern era and the Neolithic are dangerous, the concept of mobility seems to be a common point and a corollary of that of identity. The necessity of a regional approach led us to conduct research in the high Maurienne, an east-west axial valley on the internal Alps. An ancient, relatively abundant documentation and fieldwork conducted by several volunteer archaeologists shows several occupation points in this territory between 500 and 1500 m in altitude, with a few points as high as 2200 m. The first dated occupations are attributed to the Vasi a Bocca Quadrata culture (2nd half of the Vth millennium BC), but it is not until the Final Neolithic that two excavated sites give insight into the settlement patterns. Information concerning the resources exploited by human groups is rich in this case and reveals regional markers. Therefore, rather than think of an Alpine Neolithic, we prefer to speak of a Neolithic occupation in the Alps.
To cite this article
THIRAULT É., 2009 – Issues and Perspectives of the Alpine Neolithic: the Case of the Maurienne (Savoie – France), P@lethnology, Varia, 398-414.