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The Evolution of Agriculture, Food and Drink in the Ancient Niger River Basin: Archaeobotanical studies from Mali and Benin

Champion, Louis Henry Angel Prosper Moulinex; (2020) The Evolution of Agriculture, Food and Drink in the Ancient Niger River Basin: Archaeobotanical studies from Mali and Benin. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis examines the evolution of the agricultural and food economies that supported the communities that gave rise to complex societies in West Africa, as well as the agricultural systems that sustained the succeeding polities around the Niger River Valley. One of the major goals of my thesis was to reconstruct the evolution of food and beer systems, including both production and consumption. The aim of my thesis goes beyond simply documenting the arrival of new practices or new crop taxa. It also addresses the consumption practices that these crops gave rise to, and how they became embedded in the social, economic, political and environmental history of past African societies. The time period covered by this research (from 2000 BC. Until Today) witnesses climatic fluctuations, with continual oscillations between dry and humid phases. Many social changes also occurred during this period. One of the most important modifications in the African landscape, during the first and second millennium AD, is the growth of the West African states and empires, such as those of Ghana and Mali, as well as various Songhay polities. The extension and maturation of these political entities likely impacted on local agricultural systems, urbanization, and trade networks. The history and peopling of West Africa, and particularly in the Niger River area, is connected to issues of food consumption and social organisation. Indeed, we also have to study the ethno-historic framework of the area. This research includes an analysis of archaeobotanical material recovered from sites located in North Benin and Mali. The 13 sites from Benin were excavated for the ‘Crossroad of empires’ ERC project during three field seasons (2012-14). As for the samples from Malian sites, 4 were recovered by Kevin MacDonald during excavations in the 1990s, Sadia in Dogon country was excavated by the APA Swiss project in 2010-11 and Togu 2A excavated by Daouda Keita (Université des sciences Socials et Géstion, Bamako, Mali) for the Markadugu Project led by Nikolas Gestrich from the Frobenius Institute (Frankfurt, Germany).

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Evolution of Agriculture, Food and Drink in the Ancient Niger River Basin: Archaeobotanical studies from Mali and Benin
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10092629
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