An archaeological approach on early interactions between hunter-gatherers and sedentary food-producers in Western Central Africa.

01 October 2018 → 30 September 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Archaeology of Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Americas
    • Etnoarchaeology
    • Prehistoric archaeology
hunter-gatherers early farmers West-Africa
Project description

The question of prehistoric contact between indigenous hunter-gatherers and the first sedentary
communities in Western Central Africa has so far mainly been addressed by linguists, geneticists
and historians in relation to the Bantu Expansion, which is the initial migration of Bantu-speaking
communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike in other parts of the continent and the world,
archaeologists have never systematically studied the subject in the equatorial rainforest. However,
archaeological evidence for this region does exist, which can be revisited through the lens of
knowledge from other disciplines and other parts of the world. This is exactly what we will do in
the current project, which targets the period between 4000 and 2000 years ago and whose study
area comprises countries such as Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Central African
Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. Our
multifaceted approach will combine (1) a literature study to develop a new theory of contact
archaeology, (2) an innovative contact-oriented reanalysis of existing archaeological collections
including stone artefacts and the earliest ceramics of the region and (3) new surveys and
excavations in order to obtain supplementary archaeological evidence for early contact between
hunter-gatherers and sedentary food producers in Western Central Africa.