The excavations of the joint mission of the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ and the Department of Archaeology at Boston University (USA) on the hill of Bieta Giyorgis at Aksum, Ethiopia, recovered numerous animal bones from various contexts dating from Pre-Aksumite to Late Aksumite levels, around 700 BC to AD 1200. The fauna is dominated by domestic mammals. Among them, cattle (Bos taurus and Bos indicus) are dominant. Age structure and butchering marks indicate an intense exploitation of these animals. Domestic caprines (sheep and goats) are also present. Their exploitation is focused on young individuals. Donkey, dog and domestic fowl were found in small numbers. Wild mammals are very rare. Long-distance contacts are illustrated by remains of marine fish and worked cowries from the Red Sea.
The study area presented in this paper comprises two geographical entities in northern Upper Nubia located between the Second and the Third Cataract of the Nile River: Sai Island and the Amara West district, on the present left bank of the river. Four sites, three at Sai Island and one in the Amara West district, were excavated. They represent three distinct archaeological complexes, named Arkinian, Khartoum Variant, and Abkan, which encompass a long time period from ca. 11,000 to 6000 cal years BP (9000–4000 BC) and range from late foraging to early pastoralism. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating was applied to multiproxy materials in order to provide a frame of reference for this important chronological and economic period in this area. Different types of materials were selected, namely wood charcoal, charcoal tempers in pottery, ostrich eggshell, and aquatic gastropod shells. Twenty-four new AMS radiocarbon dates are presented to (a) cross-check the accuracy and reliability of the chronology of late foraging and early pastoral sites in our study area; (b) integrate, update, and revise the previously available radiometric dates; and (c) reconstruct a comprehensive framework of the chronology of late foraging and early pastoralism in Upper Nubia.
In the Niger Bend, many studies have shown the existence of settlement mounds which mainly developed between the 1st millennium BC and the 15th century AD. While knowledge about tell-type sites in sub-Saharan Africa has advanced in recent years, many aspects of this topic remain poorly understood. Considering the vast geographic area and time span, there is very little accurate chronostratigraphic information available. This relative lack of long sequences strongly limits the diachronic integration of cultural, economic and environmental data, necessary to unravel the socio-economic mechanisms underlying the emergence and development of this type of site. In this paper, we present the results of the excavations we recently conducted on a group of settlement mounds at Sadia, on the Seno Plain (Dogon Country, Mali), which allow a precise chronological, cultural and environmental sequence to be defined. By combining this work and the results from an extensive approach applied throughout the Dogon Country for more than fifteen years, we provide a scenario for the Seno tells and an insight into the development of Sahelian rural societies, including considerations on their interactions with the early State polities of the Niger Bend, prior to AD 1400.