Anthropology & Ethnoarchaeology

Anne Mayor

Senior Lecturer

  • T: +41 22 379 69 49
  • office 4-424 (Sciences II)

The research group “Anthropology & Ethnoarchaeology” develops studies and teaching about dynamics of techniques and ways of life in Africa, from Iron age to modern times. The relationships with environmental, socio-cultural, economical and political proxys are explored. This research involves different historical and analytical approaches like archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, ethnohistory, archaeometry, bio-anthropology, archaeo- and ethno-botany...

Teaching

Anne Mayor is responsible for the Bachelor course “Ethnology” and for the courses of the Master in Prehistoric Archaeology “Ethnoarchaeology” and “Prehistoric technologies”. She is also in charge of the courses of the Master in African Studies (Global Studies Institute) “Prehistory and Precolonial History in Africa” and “Environment, History and Societies”. She is involved in the training of several master and PhD students.

Research

Research of the group “Anthropology & Ethnoarchaeology” focuses primarily on establishing references in current communities in order to strengthen interpretations in archaeology (ceramics, architecture). They focus also on history and anthropology of techniques in Africa like ceramics, iron, gold and glass. A multidisciplinary approach is employed.  Our current research projects are:

  • Human population and palaeoenvironment in West Africa- Faleme project (SNF)
  • Tracking Humans in Pre-colonial West Africa: Bio-Archhaeological Study in the Dogon Country, Mali (SNF)
  • Function of ceramic productions and economy in West Africa (G. de Staël program)

Links

Key-words: Dynamics of population, History of techniques, Archaeology, Ethnoarchaeology, Ethnohistory, Paleoenvironment, Ceramics, Metallurgy, Africa

  • L'occupation humaine de la vallée du Guringin (plaine du Séno, Mali)

    abstract

    Recent archaeological survey conducted in Mali in the Guringin Valley, located in the Séno Plain, as well as at the top of the nearby Bandiagara Escarpment, has produced evidence allowing the characterisation of numerous settlement sites and locations at which prehistoric metallurgy was practised. The latter have abundant surface material, mainly consisting of ceramics that show a considerable diversity of decoration. Analysis of the surface pottery assemblages, complemented by that of stratified assemblages from a test pit at one of the sites, indicates important inter-site differences. The results suggest that water, a rare and precious resource in this sandy Sudano-Sahelian plain, attracted the settlement of different populations from Neolithic times to the present, with a particular density of occupation during the first and early second millennia AD. Groups of sites of similar modest size evoke the rural settlements of the Méma area of Mali more than the settlement clusters of the Inland Niger Delta, which are defined by large sites surrounded by satellite settlements in a context of proto-urbanisation. <br /> Les prospections archéologiques menées au Mali dans la vallée du Guringin, située dans la plaine du Séno, et sur le sommet de la Falaise de Bandiagara toute proche, ont permis de mettre en évidence et de caractériser de nombreux sites d'habitat ainsi que des lieux d'activités métallurgiques. Ces derniers livrent en surface un matériel abondant, constitué majoritairement de fragments de céramiques aux décors très variés. L'analyse des assemblages céramiques de surface, complétée d'assemblages stratifiés issus d'un sondage sur l'un des sites, nous indique des différences intersites significatives. Les résultats suggèrent une occupation de diverses populations attirées par l'eau, rare et précieuse dans cette plaine sableuse soudano-sahlienne, et ceci du Néolithique à la période actuelle, avec une densité particulière durant le premier et le début du second millénaire ap. J.C. Les ensembles de sites de tailles modestes et équivalentes se rapprochent plus des regroupements de sites ruraux du Méma que des clusters du Delta intérieur du Niger, définis par un site principal entouré de satellites, caractéristiques d'un contexte de proto-urbanisation.

    see on external website

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