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Three Field Seasons in Search of Tata Fortifications in Eastern Sénégal

Other titleKitali tati e wittougol tatadji to founangué Senegal
Published inNewsletter - Society for Historical Archaeology, vol. 55, no. 2, p. 14-20
First online date2022-07-15
Abstract

Since Raymond Mauny’s pioneering studies (1943, 1948), the expression tata has become part of the vocabulary commonly used by historians and archaeologists who focus on Senegambia and the former West Sudan from the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century. Tata is an expression of Malinké origin used “to designate any construction of a defensive nature, made of stone or clay” (Bah 1985:48). But long before researchers, European explorers and soldiers who ventured into these West African regions had noted the existence of tata in many villages (Park 1800; Raffenel 1846; Gallieni 1885; Rançon 1894a, 1894b). Present in almost every inhabited area and serving several functions, tata-type fortifications have played a major role in the political and military history of West African communities; their study is, therefore, essential for a better understanding of the history of the polities that have developed in West Africa. Following Mauny, who published a survey of the tata walls of Dakar in 1948 in Notes Africaines, other studies on the fortifications called tata were undertaken in Sénégal. Other studies have since followed, notably those by Ibrahima Thiaw in the Lower Falémé Valley (Thiaw 1999, 2012). This article presents the findings of the extended fieldwork I carried out in the Middle and Upper Falémé from 2015 to 2019 as part of my Ph.D. thesis at the Laboratoire Archéologie et Peuplement de l’Afrique (APA) at the University of Geneva.

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Citation (ISO format)
AYMERIC NSANGOU, Jacques De Limbepe. Three Field Seasons in Search of <i>Tata</i> Fortifications in Eastern Sénégal. In: Newsletter - Society for Historical Archaeology, 2022, vol. 55, n° 2, p. 14–20.
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  • PID : unige:162212
ISSN of the journal0037-9735
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