Stephen A. Dueppen: Egalitarian Revolution in the Savanna: The Origins of a West African Political System
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Stephen Dueppen’s Egalitarian Revolution in the Savanna is an ambitious and fascinating analysis of Kirikongo, an archaeological site in western Burkina Faso, and of the historical inferences that can be made on the basis of data from that site. It is exemplary in its deployment of modern ethnographic data in its cultural reconstructions and in the general sophistication of its models for the economic and social functioning of an ancient community. The primary challenge with this book involves the degree to which we can accept quite sweeping reconstructions of ancient cultural changes on the basis of limited archaeological data from this single site. There is no clear-cut answer to that question, but Dueppen’s book certainly stands as a significant addition to West African archaeology.
Egalitarian Revolution in the Savannabegins with an excellent survey, in three chapters, of models of sociopolitical functioning in West Africa and of the extremely varied modern ethnographic context....