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Negative and "Natural" Monumental Spaces: Ditches and Sacred Groves in Pre-Colonial West Africa

Author(s): Neil Norman

Year: 2015

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This paper builds on recent archaeological efforts to theorize the active role landscape features had in framing social relations, delineating zones of safety and inclusion/danger and exile, and marking spaces where cosmological actors tend to reside. In the coastal forests of pre-Colonial West Africa, ditch features and sacred groves did such social work, and as such; these powerful and liminal features held prominent positions within the kingdoms of West Africa. This paper explores massive ditch systems and expansive forests as monumental public works. Further, it and builds recent efforts to theorize them within the statecraft of complex societies and the theatrics of political economies.

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Negative and "Natural" Monumental Spaces: Ditches and Sacred Groves in Pre-Colonial West Africa. Neil Norman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395930)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America