Archaeological Survey and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in African Archaeology: Perspectives from the Niger Valley, Benin
Author(s): Nadia Khalaf
The Niger River Valley in the north of the Republic of Benin, West Africa, has abundant archaeology that until recently has been under researched. During a systematic field survey carried out for my doctoral research as part of the European Research Council-funded Crossroads of Empires project led by Prof Anne Haour, over 300 new archaeological sites were discovered and 50,000 material culture objects recorded. This paper will discuss the methodology used to systematically survey the landscape of this region using field walking and satellite imagery and how the results were integrated within a GIS, creating the most archaeologically comprehensive map of the area ever made. The preliminary results of this research demonstrate that settlement favoured areas close to perennial and ephemeral fluvial systems. Furthermore, the spatial distribution of the sites discovered displayed strong evidence of spatial clustering, which has been shown in other West African contexts to be indicative of early urbanisation – however this may also be evidence of the slow destruction and segmentation of mounded sites.
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Archaeological Survey and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in African Archaeology: Perspectives from the Niger Valley, Benin. Nadia Khalaf. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444235)
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min long: -18.721; min lat: -35.174 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 27.059 ;
Abstract Id(s): 20168