Millet, Baobab, and Indigo: The Dynamics of Savanna Farming in Precolonial Southeastern Burkina Faso

Please join us for an archaeology presentation next Thursday, Dec. 6, 4 pm, Cramer Hall 41, on PSU Campus.
Dr. Daphne Gallagher (University of Oregon) will present:
 Millet, Baobab, and Indigo: The Dynamics of Savanna Farming in Precolonial Southeastern Burkina Faso

Voltaic states played an important role in regional political and economic systems throughout 2nd millennium AD central West Africa, however their origins and development trajectories are poorly understood owing to limited archaeological investigation. This talk will examine the roots of the Gourmantché polities around the Gobnangou escarpment in southeastern Burkina Faso, providing a long-term perspective that reveals the dynamism of developments leading to large-scale Voltaic societies and their farming economies. Results from recent fieldwork (full coverage survey and test excavations) around the Koabu drainage indicate foraging populations in the region from 4000 BC until a sequential adoption of domesticates over the second half of the 1st millennium AD. The state likely arrived in the early 2nd millennium AD, incorporating pre-existing local populations, and constructing a landscape of power rooted in shifting cultivation practices. Ultimately these developments would integrate the Gobnangou into regional economic systems, including the indigo cloth trade.

Dr. Gallagher studies the relationship between socio-economic systems and agricultural practices over the past two millennia in West Africa. In particular, her archaeological research addresses colonial and post-colonial narratives on traditional agriculture through the study of long-term trajectories of land use and settlement patterns. In addition to directing a regional survey near the Gobnangou escarpment in southeastern Burkina Faso, Dr. Gallagher addresses these topics through collaboration as a paleoethnobotanist on projects throughout the West African savanna/sahel (Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Nubia).

 
Please note:  the Anthropology Student Association is hosting a pizza party reception after Dr. Gallagher’s talk, in the Anthropology Department (Cramer 141).   Please join us for that as well.
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