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Histoire du décor à la roulette en Afrique subsaharienne

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image of Journal of African Archaeology

Used both now and in the past over a large part of the African continent, roulette decoration has often been used by archaeologists as a social or chronological marker. Despite being so widespread, this type of pottery decoration has remained problematic both in terms of the identification of its many forms and of their histories. In this paper, I intend to survey the historical and spatial distribution of this technique at a continental scale. According to the available data, roulette decoration was apparently invented in West Africa around 4000 bp and spread as far as Senegal in the west and to the Great Lakes Region in the east. Its propagation in the central African rain forest is marginal. A series of frontier effects are highlighted and the influence of factors, such as ethnolinguistic affiliation and social subgrouping, that influence spatial and temporal distribution are considered. The relationship between the distribution of roulette decoration and the potters / blacksmiths caste is considered.

Affiliations: 1: Section de préhistoire, Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale (MRAC, KMMA)


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