Evolution of Iron Age to Modern Landscapes in the Benoué River Valley, Cameroon


African landscapes have undergone radical ecological transformations since agriculture was introduced and spread across the continent. In some areas, it appears that grassland was encouraged at the expense of forests and woodlands, for agriculture and to provide fodder for livestock. To this point, most of the evidence for such practices has come secondarily from ocean or swamp cores, not directly from archaeological contexts. In this paper, we present a scenario for landscape evolution and ecological conditions during the Iron Age in the Middle Benoué River Valley in northern Cameroon, using data from archaeological sites and surrounding sedimentary and edaphic environments. We evaluate evidence that anthropic mounds were strategically located to simultaneously take advantage of riparian and upland environments. Stable isotope data indicates that portions of the region rapidly transformed from woodland to grassland during the Iron Age, but upland regions were less significantly altered, despite simultaneous archaeological site construction. The introduction of new crops and land management tools over the last 200 years has continued to transform the region’s geomorphology and human ecology.

Cite this Record

Evolution of Iron Age to Modern Landscapes in the Benoué River Valley, Cameroon. David Wright, Scott MacEachern, Stanley Ambrose. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431938)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15261