Bernard Clist

Evidence of human occupation reaching back to 40,000 years ago in North-West Gabon has been identified. A paleo-environmental study coupled with archaeological research show that forests have been present for at least 6,000 to 9,000 years and therefore the last hunter-gatherers and early villagers lived in a forest environment. This case study presents the oldest direct evidence linking human settlements with a forest environment lasting several millennia for Gabon and the forested part of Central Africa.

Bernard Clist

E. Zangato’s 2007 book on the Oboui archaeological site in the Central African Republic has been read and commented. This contextualised reading leads to questioning some of the data published in the Journal of African Archaeology in 2010. At that time a very old date for the earliest iron smelting south of the Sahara was suggested. However, a detailed examination of chronological data from West, Central and East Africa leads one to date the more robust evidence for the start of iron smelting after 800 cal BC. Furthermore, important ideas are brought up, amongst others, about the reliability of radiocarbon dating, the required degree of accuracy during archaeological field work and problems of stratigraphy.