Pathways to Food Production in The Sahel

Peter Breunig

in The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology

Published in print July 2013 | ISBN: 9780199569885
Published online September 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Pathways to Food             Production in The Sahel

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Considered globally, food production is one of the most important turning points in human history. Based on archaeological data, this article argues that the origin of food production in the Sahel was the Sahara, at least in its pastoral component. Those from the better studied western Sahel argue further for a subdivision of the beginning of food production into three phases. The first of these comprises the second millennium BC and saw the massive immigration of pastoral communities from the southern Sahara and the establishment and flowering of settled, food-producing communities in some core regions. The second phase comprises the crisis into which the farming communities of the western Sahel fell during the first millennium BC, as indicated by the disappearance or diminution of their remains in the archaeological record. Thereafter, the third phase is characterised by a renewed cultural and economic flowering, to which new crops probably contributed.

Keywords: archaeology; Sahara; farming communities; pastoral communities

Article.  5984 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; African Archaeology

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