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Carlos Magnavita, Friedrich Lüth and Siaw Appiah-Adu

Abstract

Within the scope of a short-term pilot study, the authors conducted trial geophysical surveys at two sites of the late Holocene food-producing Kintampo Complex (ca. 2100-1400 BC) in northern Ghana. Overall goal of research was an evaluation of the potential of employing geophysical prospecting to map the subsurface extent of Kintampo open-air settlements. From an archaeological viewpoint, the results of the surveys were satisfactory but not outstanding in view of post-depositional disturbances at the locations. Based on that knowledge, we argue for the need of developing a systematic archaeological reconnaissance and research program for locating new and virtually undisturbed open-air Kintampo sites. We maintain that such a preliminary measure will be crucial both for investigating hitherto neglected research issues such as Kintampo settlement pattern and landscape exploitation as well as allowing geophysical technologies to fully evolve as central explorative tools in regard to settlement-related spatial questions.

A.B. Babalola, Th. Rehren, A. Ige and S. McIntosh

Abstract

Crucibles to melt glass are very rare in archaeological contexts in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent archaeological excavations at Igbo Olokun, Ile-Ife (Southwest Nigeria) revealed abundant fragments of glass crucibles from 11th-15th century AD deposits, matching the complete and near complete examples earlier reported from Ile-Ife. This paper provides an in-depth examination of these crucible fragments in order to understand the material quality of the crucibles, their typology, and their functions in glass- working/making. Optical microscopic and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) analyses were carried out on ten crucible samples. The composition of ceramic fabrics and the adhering glass are presented and discussed in view of their function. The crucibles were produced from specifically selected highly refractory clay and used for melting glass from its raw materials; colorants were added to the melt in the crucible. The useable capacity of the crucibles varied from 1 to 7 liters, equivalent to about 2.5 to 17.5 kg of finished glass for each crucible. Compositional analysis of a sample of the thousands of glass beads from the excavations indicates that the crucibles were used to melt the glass used in the beads. Archaeological evidence of glass bead making at this scale has not previously been reported from West Africa. The crucibles are unique evidence of indigenous glass-working/making in Sub-Saharan Africa from early through mid-second millennium AD.

Nuno Bicho, João Cascalheira, Jonathan Haws and Célia Gonçalves

Abstract

Southeast Africa has become an important region for understanding the development of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) and Anatomically Modern Humans. Due to its location between east and southern Africa, Mozambique is a key region for evaluating the development of Homo sapiens and the MSA across Africa. Here, we present the first results of lithic analyses of MSA assemblages collected during survey and testing in the Niassa and Massingir regions of Mozambique in 2014-2016. We were able to locate close to 200 new Stone Age surface sites. Data show that raw material use is different in the two areas. The lithic assemblages from both areas show the use of centripetal technology, but in Massingir, Levallois points, the respective cores and blade technology are frequent, they are almost absent in the northern region.

Nikolas Gestrich and Kevin C. MacDonald

Abstract

This article summarises the results of four seasons of excavation at Tongo Maaré Diabal (AD 500-1150), near Douentza, Mali. Deep stratigraphic excavations were directed by MacDonald and Togola in 1993, 1995 and by MacDonald in 1996. Complementary, large exposure excavations of the abandonment layer were undertaken by Gestrich in 2010. The combined excavation results speak to topics of craft specialisation, trade, and social organisation. They provide evidence of a specialised blacksmithing community situated at the margins of early Middle Niger and Niger Bend statehood and urbanisation.

Elizabeth Coatsworth and Gale Owen-Crocker

An astonishing number of medieval garments survive, more-or-less complete. Here the authors present 100 items, ranging from homely to princely. The book’s wide-ranging introduction discusses the circumstances in which garments have survived to the present; sets and collections; constructional and decorative techniques; iconography; inscriptions on garments; style and fashion. Detailed descriptions and discussions explain technique and ornament, investigate alleged associations with famous people (many of them spurious) and demonstrate, even when there are no known associations, how a garment may reveal its own biography: a story that can include repair, remaking, recycling; burial, resurrection and veneration; accidental loss or deliberate deposition.
The authors both have many publications in the field of medieval studies, including previous collaborations on medieval textiles such as Medieval Textiles of the British Isles AD 450-1100: an Annotated Bibliography (2007), the Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles (2012) and online bibliographies.

Elizabeth Coatsworth and Gale R. Owen-Crocker

Elizabeth Coatsworth and Gale R. Owen-Crocker