Book chapter

Variabilité des dispositifs de stockage en Afrique de l’Ouest : approches ethnoarchéologiques

Published inStorage in Ancient Egypt and Nubia: Earthen architecture and building techniques, Editors Bats, A. & Licitra, N., p. 117-140
PublisherLeiden : Seidestone Press
First online date2023

Identifying the function of an architectural structure in archaeology often remains difficult. The use of external interpretative references is therefore useful, whether they are textual, iconographic, ethnographic or experimental. In the African context, where ancient written sources are rare, it is important to be able to rely on the results of ethnoarchaeological studies. To overcome the lack of such references, we first conducted a synthesis of the literature on the so-called granaries in West Africa, with the aim of identifying their diversity by relating their types of base – likely to be found in archaeology – and various elements relating to their elevation, their contents, their status or their location in relation to the habitat – elements that we seek to interpret – (Mayor 1989). Three decades later, we conducted a field study in eastern Senegal, in a region characterised by contrasting cultural groups and environments, favourable for documenting the variability of vernacular architecture and the mechanisms behind builders’ technical choices (Pelmoine 2020). Despite disparate and incomplete bibliographic sources, the first study proposes a very complete typology of West African storage structures, which are particularly varied, whether they are granaries on poles, on wooden or stone bases, located inside buildings, or buried silos or jars. The abundance of data collected has made it possible to propose several regularities or trends. The most recent study, carried out in the field in Senegal, provides details on the manufacturing techniques, the contents and the locations of the granaries in relation to the habitat. It also validates the majority of the proposed regularities and trends, nuances two of them and invalidates one. Finally, it constitutes an important heritage archive in a context of rapid changes in these conservation structures.

  • Granaries
  • West Africa
  • Eastern Senegal
  • Ethnoarchaeology
  • Typology
  • Technical choices
Citation (ISO format)
MAYOR, Anne, PELMOINE, Thomas. Variabilité des dispositifs de stockage en Afrique de l’Ouest : approches ethnoarchéologiques. In: Storage in Ancient Egypt and Nubia: Earthen architecture and building techniques. Leiden : Seidestone Press, 2023. p. 117–140.
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:175354

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