Book Review This year's December issue of the Journal of African Archaeology draws together a series of research papers displaying original results of archaeological case studies from various parts of the continent. The editors hope that this selection of articles will provide something to awaken the interest of all readers. This issue starts with a major contribution by our French colleagues Alain Person, Sylvie Amblard-Pison and six other team members who for several years now have been investigating the region around the famous Dhar Tichitt locality and neighboring cliffs in southern Mauritania. Their current paper analyses the cultural responses of late Holocene food-producing (semi-) sedentary groups inhabiting the Dhar Nema to a gradually deteriorating local environment. The second paper, by Achilles Gautier, Daniel Makowiecki, Henryk Paner and Wim Van Neer, reports on the analysis of faunal remains unearthed at a late MSA to early LSA hunting site in Sudan, at the margins of an old tributary stream of the Nile, close to the fourth cataract. In the third paper, Alex Duffey presents an exciting interpretation of the various gold foil artefacts discovered early last century on Mapungubwe Hill, including the famous gold rhinoceros and other gold foil animal figurines. Having explained the context of the archaeological finds, Duffey draws on the iconography of ethnographic examples of divining bowls and provides a compelling explanation for the Mapungubwe Hill finds. In the fourth research paper, Lydia W. Marshall offers an amazing insight into the results of her investigations at a 19th century Kenyan coastal site, focusing on the typology and symbolic meaning of an assemblage of mainly glass beads found at the site. The fifth paper, by Jeffrey Fleisher, Stephanie Wynne-Jones, Charlene Steele and Kate Welham, describes and discusses the outcome of archeological fieldwork that applies innovative methods for attempting to solve old research queries at one of the most famous and puzzling Swahili stone towns: Kilwa Kisiwani. Employing magnetometry for mapping the subsurface extent of parts of that site, the authors make a good case for the benefits of this kind of investigation in East African archaeological contexts, and particularly for Swahili settlements. Drawing upon the subject of the latter paper, it is clear that geophysical surveying has increasingly become one of the standard tools of field research by Africanist archaeologists in the last couple of years. We would highlight that geophysical surveys have been accomplished or are being carried out within the scope of a number of current international archaeological projects in Tanzania, Kenya, Benin and Senegal. It is indeed probable that this trend will persist and even intensify in the course of the following years, especially once the results of the recent and developing investigations become more widely available. Beyond the original research papers, this issue of the Journal presents six reviews of newly published books that make relevant contributions by updating our knowledge of scholarly and research developments in a diverse range of topics and times: slavery; British expansionism; faunal studies; middle Holocene life ways; pottery traditions; cultural heritage. Sonja Magnavita Frankfurt, 1st December 2012 Peter Breunig Journal of African Archaeology Vol. 10 (2), 2012
Journal of African Archaeology – Brill
Published: Oct 25, 2012
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