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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 147–173 | Cite as

Pearl Millet and Kintampo Subsistence

Article

Abstract

Subsistence practices of the Kintampo cultural complex of sub-Saharan West Africa are now known to have included pearl millet cultivation, in addition to the utilization of tropical forest margin species such as oil palm. Charred plant remains recovered from the Birimi site, northern Ghana, suggest that the growing of pearl millet, possibly in uniform stands, was occurring amongst northerly Kintampo groups during the fourth millennium bp. The cultivation of this drought-tolerant crop facilitated the establishment of sedentary villages by providing a storable food resource enabling Kintampo people to survive the protracted dry season of the West African savanna.

Nous savons maintenant que les pratiques de subsistance du complexe culturel Kintampo de l'Afrique de l'Ouest sub-saharien comprenaient la culture du mil à chandelle ainsi que l'utilisation d'espèces végétales qui poussaient en bordure de la forêt tropicale, comme le palmier à huile. Des restes de plantes carbonisé ont été récupérées du site du Birimi dans le Nord du Ghana; elles suggèrent que la pratique de la culture du mil à chandelle dont les plantations étaient peut-être déjà uniformes, se soit produite parmi les groupes Kintampo du Nord pendant le quatrième millénaire bp. La culture du mil à chandelle tolérait la sécheresse et avait ainsi facilité l'établissement de villages sédentaires car elle fournissait des ressources alimentaires entreposables. Cela permettait aux groupes Kintampo de survivre pendant la longue saison sèche de la savane de l'Afrique de l'Ouest.

West Africa Ghana Kintampo complex subsistence palaeoethnobotany pearl millet 

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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbia

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