Ancestral Encounters in Highland Madagascar: Material Signs and Traces of the Dead. By Zoë Crossland. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2014, xv + 381 pp. ISBN 9781107036093. US$ 99.00 (Hardcover). Crossland has crafted a fascinating and richly detailed historical ethnography of the Imerina kingdom (fanjakana) of the Malagasy highlands. Her time frame spans the late eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries, the reigns of King Andrianampoinimerina (ca 1787 ca 1810), his son Radama I (ca 18101828), and successor monarchs to the last highland queen, Ranavalona III, who was deposed in 1896 following French colonization. The author draws on existing ethnographic, historical and archaeological accounts as well as her own archaeological investigations to develop an innovated perspective on this period that witnessed political upheaval, warfare, and slave raiding alongside Christian missionization and other European contacts. Her theme is the interactions between the living and the dead, especially ancestors, whose material signs include royal tombs and shrines on descent group lands, as well as specific objects such as silver coins that reference the sacred blessings from the ancestors (hasina). This is not an ethnography or history in the conventional sense, and a short review cannot do justice to this impressive,
Journal of African Archaeology – Brill
Published: Nov 1, 2015
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