The city of Hamdallahi, capital of the Peul Empire of Massina founded in the early 19th century, exemplifies the first influences of Islamisation in the inner Niger Delta in Mali. The analysis of faunal remains from one of the two excavated areas at this archaeological site has brought to light bone remains which are highly fractured. The taphonomic studies reveal that a part from the natural (climatic) conditions which promoted the deterioration of the bones, in numerous cases the fractures are of anthropic nature. Ethnological observations of butchering techniques carried out in 1992 in the inner Niger Delta have contributed elements of understanding to this problem of fragmentation. Comparisons between the traces on the excavated bones of Hamdallahi and observations of present butchering methods enable us to conclude that the slaughtering techniques and meat consumption habits in early 19th century in Hamdallahi were similar to present-day customs in the inner Niger Delta.
Archaeozoology, Mali, Taphonomy, Butchering techniques, Ethnological observations.