African Archaeological Review

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 265–297 | Cite as

Ceramic Production and Dietary Changes at Juffure, Gambia

  • Liza Gijanto
  • Sarah Walshaw
Original Article


This paper explores the connection between ceramic production and dietary changes immediately before, during, and through the decline of the Atlantic trade at Juffure on the Gambia River. The height of the Atlantic trade in the eighteenth century was a period of increased ceramic production and technical experimentation. Simultaneously, there is increase in the diversity of consumption evident in the faunal and botanical remains recovered. This diversity, in both ceramic manufacture and diet, all but disappears with the decline of the Atlantic trade on the river. It is argued that the greater variety observed in ceramic manufacture during the height of the Atlantic trade is related to social practices of display associated with food. This is accomplished through a comparison of everyday and special events composed of displays of food and wealth across ethnic boundaries. These are indicative of different traditions of consumption and discard rather than signaling ethnic differentiation.


Foodways Archaeobotany Zooarchaeology Ceramic production Historical archaeology Atlantic trade Gambia 


Cet article explore le lien entre la production de céramique et des changements alimentaires immédiatement avant, pendant, et par le déclin de la traite atlantique à Juffure sur le fleuve Gambie. La hauteur de la traite atlantique dans le 18ème siècle a été une période de hausse de la production de céramique et de l’expérimentation technique. En même temps, il ya augmentation de la diversité de la consommation évidente dans les restes fauniques et botaniques récupérés. Cette diversité, à la fois dans la fabrication de céramique et de l’alimentation, mais tout disparaît avec le déclin de la traite atlantique sur la rivière. Il fait valoir que la plus grande variété observée dans la fabrication de céramique à l’apogée de la traite atlantique est liée à des pratiques sociales de l’affichage associés aux aliments. Ceci est accompli grâce à une comparaison des événements quotidiens et spéciaux comprenant des écrans de nourriture et de la richesse à travers les frontières ethniques. Il ne s’agit que de différentes traditions de consommation et de jeter plutôt que de signaler la différenciation ethnique.



Permission for excavations at Juffure in The Gambia was granted by the National Centre for Arts and Culture (Research Permit no. 51) and the ongoing support of the NCAC is greatly appreciated. The authors are grateful to guest editors Amanda Logan and Cameron Gokee for insightful comments on earlier drafts of this paper, and to AAR editor Adria LaViolette for her support. Two anonymous reviewers made excellent suggestions for clarifying our data and our arguments, which were very valuable in shaping the final draft. We would also like to thank Ann Stahl for her comments which allowed us to further clarify and improve our arguments in this paper. Walshaw thanks several students at Simon Fraser University for laboratory assistance in sorting archaeobotanical samples (Mairi Capper, Melissa Cook, and Pamela Wadge) and extends appreciation to Dr. Catherine D’Andrea for access to laboratory resources and for her invaluable advice. Gijanto would like to thank Mr. Baba Ceesey, the residents of Juffure and Albreada, as well as the numerous undergraduates at St. Mary’s College of Maryland who participated in field work and laboratory analysis (particularly Sean Reid and Sarah Platt). Christopher DeCorse’s ongoing support of this project is also greatly appreciated. Any errors or omissions that remain are entirely those of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Mary’s College of MarylandSt. Mary’s CityUSA
  2. 2.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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