Archaeological Investigations of Iron Age Sites in the Mema Region, Mali (West Africa)
The African region traditionally known to Malians as the Méma is a plain of deep alluvial deposits that lies west of the current seasonally flooded Inland Delta of the Niger River and southwest of the of the Lakes Region. As for most traditional regions in Mali, its geographical borders are loosely defined. Nampala, the biggest town of the area, is located at 15o 16' north and 5o 35' west. The Méma is also sometimes referred to in the literature as the "Dead Delta", a name that evokes the presence of a dense network of dry watercourses. Due to the dearth of information on both the history and archaeology of Méma, the Méma archaeological research program was designed as an exploratory inquiry. The primary objective of the archaeological research program executed from December 1989 to June 1990 was to collect basic data that will permit a preliminary analysis of settlement pattern and radiocarbon and ceramic chronology as well as a careful description of the material culture of the Méma during the Iron Age (IA).
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Geomorphological historical and archaeological background
The M6ma Its Location in the Middle Niger and in Mali
2 Map of the Tumuli along the Middle Niger Bedaux et al 1978
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African AK3 level Akumbu Akumbu mound complex archaeological artifacts Assemblage sites Bamako beads Bedaux body sherds bone Bourgou Bovid Bras de Nampala burnt clay structure century ceramic channelling charcoal clusters cultural decorative motifs decorative techniques Degraded dunes deposits Desplagnes disposal pit Early Assemblage empire of Ghana empire of Mali everted rims excavated levels excavation units excavations at Akumbu faunal Figure fragments habitation mounds Haskell identified Inland Delta Inland Niger Delta Jenne-jeno Kolima Koumbi Saleh Lakes Region Late Assemblage Laterite loam M6ma Mali Maoudo Mauny McIntosh & RJ McIntosh in press Mema Middle Assemblage Middle Niger millennium Molodo Mouyssam mud brick wall occupation peneplain plastic decoration Pot lid pottery collection present radiocarbon dates Raimbault 1991 remains Rim type RJ McIntosh 1980 Sanogo settlement SK McIntosh Slag slipping Soninke Stuiver surface survey tumuli twine decorated twine impression Unit AK1 Wagadu wall collapse water corridors