Anthropology & African Archaeology

Eric Huysecom

Associate Professor

  • T: +41 22 379 69 73
  • office 4-432 (Sciences II)

The research group “Anthropology & African Archaeology” develops studies and teaching about human population in Africa, from prehistoric to precolonial and islamic times, and their relationships with climatic and environmental changes. This research involves different approaches (prehistory, zooarchaeology, paleobotany, geomorphology, etc.).

Teaching

Members of the APA laboratory are responsible for teaching at both Bachelor's and Master's levels for students enrolled in the Faculty of Sciences and Letters. Such courses may also be selected as electives by students following the master in African studies (GSI) as well as any students and auditors, regardless of their faculty. PhD formations are organized.

Research

Research of the group “Anthropology & African Archaeology” focuses primarily on the reconstruction of human settlement history in Africa and its relationship with climatic and environmental variability. A multidisciplinary approach is employed.

At present, fieldwork is conducted in Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast and Ghana. 

Current FNS projects

logo fns

  • Chronology of Rapid Climatic changes and Human adaptation in West Africa (CHeRCHA) (100019E-164071)
    link

  • Peuplement humain et paléoenvironnement en Afrique de l'Ouest - Projet Falémé (101211_163022)
    link

Links

Key-words: Dynamics of population, Archaeology, Prehistory, Paleoenvironment, Ceramics, Metallurgy, Africa, Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Islamic Archaeology, Precolonial Archaeology.

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

  • Huysecom E. 2002. Palaeoenvironment and human population in West Africa : an international research project in Mali. Antiquity 76, 335-336.
  • Huysecom E. 2002. Peuplement humain et paléoenvironnement en Afrique de l’Ouest : un programme de recherche international au Mali. Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Actualité de la Recherche au Mali 6, avril 2002, 4-5.
  • Huysecom E., Ballouche A., Boëda E., Cappa L., Cissé L., Dembelé A., Gallay A., Konaté D., Mayor A., Ozainne S., Raeli F., Rasse M., Robert A., Robion C., Sanogo K., Soriano S., Sow O., Stokes S. 2002. Cinquième campagne de recherches à Ounjougou (Mali) : résultats préliminaires. In: Jahresbericht SLSA 2001. Zürich et Vaduz: Fondation Suisse-Liechtenstein pour les recherches archéologiques à l’étranger, 55-113.
  • Schaer K., Huysecom E., Ozainne S. 2002. Grinding stones as indication of a socioeconomic change in early Holocene West Africa: The example of Ounjougou, Mali, Abstract of the Biennal Conference of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists in Tucson/AZ, 18 – 21 may : Nyame Akuma, Bulletin of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists 57, 71.

2001

2000

1999

1998

1997

  • Huysecom E. 1997. Peuplement ancien et paléo-environnement au Mali. Campus, magazine de l’Université de Genève 37, 16-17.
  • Huysecom E. 1997. « Inagina, l’ultime maison du fer », Campus, magazine de l’Université de Genève 37, 18-21.
  • Serneels V., Huysecom E., Fluzin Ph. 1997. Inagina Iron – slags and eutectoïd steel, in Crew , Crew S. (éds.), Early Ironworking in Europe, archaeology and experiment – Abstracts, International Conference 19th to 25th September 1997, Plas Tan y Bwlch 1997, 104-110.

1996

  • Huysecom E. 1996. Découverte récente d’un site stratifié holocène à Ounjougou, Mali: résultats des deux missions préliminaires, Nyame Akuma, Bulletin of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists 46, december 1996, 59-71.

1995

  • Gallay A., Huysecom E., Mayor A. 1995. Archéologie, histoire et traditions orales: trois clés pour découvrir le passé dogon. In: Homberger L. (ed.), Die Kunst der Dogon, Zürich 1995, 19 – 43, 132 – 135.
  • 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

  • Les monuments et manuscrits de Tombouctou In : Gautier Y. (ed), La Science au présent, 2013. Une année d’actualités scientifique et technique, Paris: Encylopaedia Universalis, p. 14-15.

    abstract

    see on external website

Scientific partners

in Mali

Dr Klena Sanogo, Director of the Institute of Human Sciences of Bamako, Mali;

Dr Néma Guindo, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Bamako, Mali;

Prof Doulaye Konaté, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Bamako, Mali;

Lassana Cissé, General director, National Direction of Cultural Heritage, Mali.

in Senegal

Prof Hamady Bocoum, General director of the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN), University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Dakar, Senegal.

in Iyory Coast

Dr Hélène Kienon-Kaboré, Department of Archaeology of the Institute of Anthropological Sciences of Development (ISAD), University Félix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHBA), Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Palaeolithic archaeology

Dr Sylvain Soriano, ArScAn Laboratory CNRS-UMR 7041, University of Paris X-Nanterre, France;

Dr Alice Leplongeon, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.

Palaeometallurgy

Prof Vincent Serneels, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg;

Dr Caroline Robion-Brunner, TRACES Laboratory UMR 5608, University of Toulouse 2 le Mirail, France;

Sébastien Perret, PhD student, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg.

OSL dating

Dr Chantal Tribolo, IRAMAT-CRP2A Laboratory, CNRS, University of Bordeaux, France;

Dr Norbert Mercier, IRAMAT-CRP2A Laboratory, CNRS, University of Bordeaux, France;

Brice Lebrun, PhD student, IRAMAT-CRP2A Laboratory, CNRS, University of Bordeaux, France.

C14 AMS dating

Dr Irka Hajdas, Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich (ETH-Z);

Prof Hans-Arno Synal, Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich (ETH-Z).

Geomorphology, sedimentology, chronostratigraphy

Prof. Michel Rasse, Archéorient Laboratory, University of Lyon 2, France ;

Prof. Laurent Lespez, Laboratory of Physical Geography (LGP) of Meudon, UMR 8591 CNRS, Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne; researcher associated with the LETG-CAEN UMR 6554 CNRS, France;

Dr Aline Garnier, Laboratory of Physical Geography (LGP) of Meudon, UMR 8591 CNRS, Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne, France.

Archaeobotany and landscape history

Prof Aziz Ballouche, LETG-Angers CNRS-UMRS 6554, University of Angers;

Dr Nuscia Taïbi, LETG-Angers CNRS-UMRS 6554, University of Angers;

Dr Aline Garnier, Laboratory of Physical Geography (LGP) of Meudon, UMR 8591 CNRS, Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne, France;

Prof Katharina Neumann, Seminar für Vor-und Frühgeschichte, Archäologie und Archäobotanik Afrikas, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany;

Dr Barbara Eichhorn, Seminar für Vor-und Frühgeschichte, Archäologie und Archäobotanik Afrikas, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany;

Dr Yann Le Drezen, PRODIG Laboratory, UFR 08 Geography, Université Paris1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France.

Archaeometry

Nadia Cantin, IRAMAT-CRP2A Laboratory, CNRS, University of Bordeaux, France;

Prof. Vincent Serneels, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg.