Becoming Villagers, Becoming Enslavers: Social Change in Bantu-Speaking Early Villages during the Late Holocene Arid Phase (ca. 1200 BCE. – ca. 100 BCE)
Author(s): Marcos Leitao De Almeida
This is an abstract from the "Archaeological Approaches to Slavery and Unfree Labour in Africa" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Recent syntheses incorporating linguistic, archaeological, and paleoclimatic evidence have argued that villages inhabited by Bantu-speaking communities spread from Cameroon to the Lower Congo from about 1200 BCE to 100 BCE. This southward migration was facilitated by an abrupt climatic warming event that expanded savanna-like environments and destructed portions of the Central African rainforest. Particularly between 650 BCE and 70 BCE, these new environmental conditions offered new opportunities and challenges to the newly arrived Bantu-speaking inhabitants, such as the adoption of pearl millet agriculture, the rapid circulation of iron technology, and the growth of population. This presentation discusses how village leaders resorted to slaving and captive-taking strategies to expand their communities in this period of unsettling changes. Based on comparative ethnography and historical linguistics, a re-analysis of four previously proposed lexical reconstructions reveals emerging ideas around alienation, honor, social status, and inter-village conflicts that provide important insights into the ways in
which early Bantu speakers created a new logic of dispensability and incorporation in their communities. Lastly, this presentation discusses the implication of this discovery vis-à-vis other streams of evidence and ends by showing how the concepts of slavery created in this period became a lasting tradition in Equatorial Africa.
Cite this Record
Becoming Villagers, Becoming Enslavers: Social Change in Bantu-Speaking Early Villages during the Late Holocene Arid Phase (ca. 1200 BCE. – ca. 100 BCE). Marcos Leitao De Almeida. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452431)
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min long: 8.613; min lat: -17.309 ; max long: 30.762; max lat: 22.431 ;
Abstract Id(s): 25847