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 of African Archaeology – Brill
Published: Oct 25, 2011
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