Inventing Africa: History, Archaeology and Ideas. By Robin Derricourt. Pluto Press, London and New York, 2011, 183 pp. ISBN 978-0-7453-3106-5 (Paperback). £ 16.00.

Inventing Africa: History, Archaeology and Ideas. By Robin Derricourt. Pluto Press, London and... Book Review This is one of the most readable books on African archaeology that has ever appeared. It is basically a historiography of key issues in African archaeology in the sense that its principal focus is on the archaeologists and historians themselves, their own cultural history and how they came to write on the work that is remembered under their names. It is a reflection of the intellectual milieu of the era and place where they were working. In this sense it is all about ideas and how the deep past of Africa is remembered or invented. It is not a history of African archaeology but of the construction of Africa's past. His first two chapters deal with "The Changing Shape and Perception of Africa" and "Mythic and Mystic Africa". These are perhaps his most historiographic chapters in which he deals with many of the ambiguities of our perceptions. He feels that scholars have too often looked outwards to other cultures rather than downwards at the map of Africa itself. He bemoans the continuing use of selective data and simplistic linguistic studies that compare words rather than the machinery of language, particularly when looking at Ancient Egypt and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

Inventing Africa: History, Archaeology and Ideas. By Robin Derricourt. Pluto Press, London and New York, 2011, 183 pp. ISBN 978-0-7453-3106-5 (Paperback). £ 16.00.

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 9 (2): 229 – Oct 25, 2011

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2011 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.3213/2191-5784-10193
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book Review This is one of the most readable books on African archaeology that has ever appeared. It is basically a historiography of key issues in African archaeology in the sense that its principal focus is on the archaeologists and historians themselves, their own cultural history and how they came to write on the work that is remembered under their names. It is a reflection of the intellectual milieu of the era and place where they were working. In this sense it is all about ideas and how the deep past of Africa is remembered or invented. It is not a history of African archaeology but of the construction of Africa's past. His first two chapters deal with "The Changing Shape and Perception of Africa" and "Mythic and Mystic Africa". These are perhaps his most historiographic chapters in which he deals with many of the ambiguities of our perceptions. He feels that scholars have too often looked outwards to other cultures rather than downwards at the map of Africa itself. He bemoans the continuing use of selective data and simplistic linguistic studies that compare words rather than the machinery of language, particularly when looking at Ancient Egypt and

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Oct 25, 2011

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