CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE POTTERY OF THE MEDIEVAL SAHEL: A PRELIMINARY VIEW FROM THE MAKARAUCI VALLEY, NIGER

CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE POTTERY OF THE MEDIEVAL SAHEL: A PRELIMINARY VIEW FROM THE... This article considers pottery sherds from three sites in the Makarauci Valley, Niger, dating from AD 1300-1650, with particular focus on tempering practices. The sherds represented two main types: plain vessels with minerals providing a natural temper, and decorated (mainly pleated strip roulette) vessels tempered with vegetal fibres, now burnt out. There is a very strong correlation between this fibre-tempered fabric and decoration. As the contemporaneity of dates suggests both types of clay were available to the potters, the question arises as to why they used fibre-tempered clays for the manufacture of decorated vessels. We consider evidence for fibre-tempering from around the world and suggest that the answer lies in a combination of cultural and technological factors. Decoration served as the marker of a vessel designed for water storage and carrying, and the decoration disguised the pitted and blemished surface of fibre-tempered pots; the porous fabric meant the vessels were lighter to carry and therefore better suited for water transport. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE POTTERY OF THE MEDIEVAL SAHEL: A PRELIMINARY VIEW FROM THE MAKARAUCI VALLEY, NIGER

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 3 (1): 127 – Oct 25, 2005

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2005 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.3213/1612-1651-10041
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article considers pottery sherds from three sites in the Makarauci Valley, Niger, dating from AD 1300-1650, with particular focus on tempering practices. The sherds represented two main types: plain vessels with minerals providing a natural temper, and decorated (mainly pleated strip roulette) vessels tempered with vegetal fibres, now burnt out. There is a very strong correlation between this fibre-tempered fabric and decoration. As the contemporaneity of dates suggests both types of clay were available to the potters, the question arises as to why they used fibre-tempered clays for the manufacture of decorated vessels. We consider evidence for fibre-tempering from around the world and suggest that the answer lies in a combination of cultural and technological factors. Decoration served as the marker of a vessel designed for water storage and carrying, and the decoration disguised the pitted and blemished surface of fibre-tempered pots; the porous fabric meant the vessels were lighter to carry and therefore better suited for water transport.

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Oct 25, 2005

Keywords: Pleated strip roulette; Niger; fiber/fibre tempering; Tsotsebaki Hausa; cultural technology

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