African Archaeological Review

, Volume 29, Issue 2–3, pp 253–271 | Cite as

The Holocene History of the Southern Lake Chad Basin: Archaeological, Linguistic and Genetic Evidence

  • Scott MacEachernEmail author
Original Article


Archaeological evidence indicates a complex history of settlement of the southern Lake Chad Basin from the mid-Holocene onward, in parallel with the gradual desiccation of the Sahara and reduction of lake and river systems in the region. These archaeological data can be compared with a growing body of data from historical linguistics and genetics, and the southern Lake Chad Basin is one of few areas in Africa where such comparisons can be undertaken. This paper will serve as a preliminary consideration of some of the issues generated by an initial comparison of archaeological, genetic and linguistic evidence for the peopling of the Lake Chad Basin. It focuses on the contexts of initial encounters between ancestral Nilo-Saharan and Chadic populations south of Lake Megachad and subsequent population expansions and diversifications around the Mandara Mountains.


Lake Chad Basin Archaeogenetics Population reconstructions Chronology 


Les données archéologiques indiquent une histoire complexe de la colonisation du bassin méridionale du lac Tchad à partir du milieu de l’Holocène, en parallèle avec le dessèchement progressif du Sahara et la réduction des réseaux hydrologiques dans la région. Ces données archéologiques peut être comparée à un ensemble croissant de données de la linguistique historique et la génétique, et le bassin méridionale du lac Tchad est l’un des rares zones en Afrique où de telles comparaisons peuvent être effectuées. Cet article servira comme un considération préliminaire de certains des questions générées par une comparaison des preuves archéologiques, génétiques et linguistiques pour le peuplement du bassin du lac Tchad. Il se concentre sur les rencontres initiales entre les populations ancestrales nilo-sahariennes et tchadiques au sud du lac Megachad, et sur les plus récentes expansions et diversifications des populations dans les alentours des Monts Mandara.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin CollegeBrunswickUSA

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