Historical and Dialectical Perspectives on the Archaeology of Complexity in the Siin-Saalum (Senegal): Back to the Future?

  title={Historical and Dialectical Perspectives on the Archaeology of Complexity in the Siin-Saalum (Senegal): Back to the Future?},
  author={François Gilles Richard},
  journal={African Archaeological Review},
  • F. Richard
  • Published 27 May 2009
  • History
  • African Archaeological Review
Drawing on recent critiques of evolutionism, this article reviews the history of Iron Age studies in Siin-Saalum (Senegal) to examine the construction of African archaeological knowledge. From the 19th century to the 1980’s, analyses of complexity in Senegal have been animated by developmentalist views that have portrayed the regional past as a stagnant backwater. In the past 25 years, however, archaeological research has sought to redress these inaccuracies by exploring the diversity and… 
Profane archaeology and the existential dialectics of the city
What does it mean to view the landscape dialectically? I here experiment with an approach inspired by Benjamin, the intent of which is to expand our understanding of dialectics beyond the structural
Recharting Atlantic encounters. Object trajectories and histories of value in the Siin (Senegal) and Senegambia
The Atlantic era marks a turbulent period in the history of Senegambia, defined by dramatic reconfigurations in local socio-economic conditions. These ‘global encounters’ have often been equated with
Practical knowledge and politics of encounter along the Lower Falémé River, Senegambia (c. AD 1500–1925)
Beyond the growing entanglement of African and European worlds, the Atlantic era also witnessed transformations in the economic institutions, political regimes, and social identities that inhered
Exotica in Context: Reconfiguring Prestige, Power and Wealth in the Southern African Iron Age
Prestige goods, in various combinations and permutations, feature prominently in anthropological and archaeological templates of the emergence of social inequality and early state formation in
Human Remains and Archaeologies of Identity in Senegal
This chapter explores the historical interplay between archaeologies of identity and human remains in Senegal against the backdrop of broader colonial and postcolonial projects. Although the methods
Connecting African Diaspora and West African Historical Archaeologies
Historical archaeology is a growing and vibrant field of inquiry in West Africa. Since the 1980s, there has been a steady increase in the number studies related to the Atlantic trade and
In the Belly of Dan
The kingdom of Dahomey arose on the Slave Coast of West Africa in the tumultuous era of the slave trade. This essay explores elite architectural strategies designed to cope with political instability
Modernity’s Rush: Time, Space, and Race in the Shadows of the Diamond Fields
This chapter examines the material dynamics of the emergent nineteenth-century culture of speculation and finance capital on the Diamond Fields of South Africa. I am interested in understanding how
Exchange Values: Commodities, Colonialism, and Identity on Nineteenth Century Zanzibar
Zanzibar during the nineteenth century was under the colonial rule of the Gulf state of Oman. This was a period during which the economy of Zanzibar became increasingly engaged in global capitalism,


African archaeology, both in theory and practice, suffers from a burdensome colonial experience. By gaining independence, the temptation to fashion the past in terms of models of European nationalism
Why Should Historical Archaeologists Study Capitalism
Since the early 1970s, advocates of the emerging field of historical archaeology have defended its worth and autonomy by appealing to the democratizing power of archaeological evidence over the
African Historical Archaeologies: An Introductory Consideration of Scope and Potential
The past does not exist, but what does exist are interpretations of the past constructed in the present, and it is important to remember that these constructs not only lay emphasis on particular issues and themes but also create silences, issues which histories avoid.
Critical Traditions in Contemporary Archaeology: Essays in the Philosophy, History and Socio-Politics of Archaeology
Part 1 Philosophical analysis: introduction - philosophical analysis, Alison Wylie philosophy of science and archaeology, Robert C.Dunnell efficient explanations and efficient behaviour, Merrilee
The Politics of Archaeology in Africa
▪ Abstract “Africa is various,” writes Kwame Anthony Appiah in defiance of the Eurocentric myth of a unitary and unchanging continent. The politics of archaeology in Africa has been no less marked by
Archaeology and the Public in Senegal: Reflections on Doing Fieldwork at Home
In contrast to the practice of history that is deeply rooted in African societies in the form of oral traditions, to many Senegalese, archaeological inquiry is rather a strange and mysterious
The Burden of Tribalism: The Social Context of Southern African Iron Age Studies
  • M. Hall
  • History
    American Antiquity
  • 1984
The study of the archaeology of farming communities in southern Africa is an inherently political activity but there has been little critical analysis of the role of social context in forming
Anthropology and the Savage Slot: The Poetics and Politics of Otherness
Anthropology discovered globalization before the term became fashionable. By the late 1970s changes in the dynamism, mass, speed, and direction of global flows had seriously affected anthropological
Archaeological theory: who sets the agenda?: After social evolution: a new archaeological agenda?
Introduction The social archaeology of non–state agrarian societies emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a concern with the growth and differentiation of social institutions within a neoevolutionary
Historical Archaeologies of Capitalism
Issues in a Historical Archaeology Devoted to Studying Capitalism: Setting Some Terms for Historical Archaeologies of Capitalism M.P. Leone. Where The Questions Come From: Why Should Historical