La répartition des ossements animaux comme indicateur des modes de rejet et de l'origine des couches : le cas d'une concession à Hamdallahi (Mali, 19ème s.)

Isabelle VELARDE

fr Anthropozoologica 21 - Pages 207-216

Published on 01 November 1995

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animal in man's space, man in the animal space. Proceedings of the 5th international meeting of HASRI, Genova, 23-25 November 1994

The distribution of animal bones as indicators of the dynamics of rubbish disposai and the origins of the soil compo-sing archaeological loyers: a concession at Hamdallahi (Mali, 19th century)

The distribution of animal bones in an archaeological habitation context can reveal information to the archaeozoologist about the dynarnics of rubbish disposal and the spatial organisation of an ancient dwelling place. Presence or absence of animal bones in occupation levels can indicate where soil had been extractedfor construction purposes. Two concessions were excavated in the Malien town of Hamdallahi, situated on the eastern side of the Inland Niger Delta. This town had been built and abandoned in the 19th century during the islamisation period of "Peul Empire of Masina". A model of bone refuse patterning was made by observing rubbish disposai in currently occupied concessions of nearby towns. The application of the ethnological model to the analysis of the excavation of the second concession permits a preliminary interpretation of the spatial distribution of the animal bones. Furthermore, this approach allows us to identify the probable zone of extraction of the soil composing the archaeological loyers. Our results concur with the archaeological interpretation concerning which ethnie group occupied the site and under what conditions the concession was abandoned. In addition it was possible to suggest where the bricks used to construct the concession had been made.


Mali, 19th century, Archaeozoological analysis, Ethnological observations, Spatial organisation, Dynamics of rubbish disposal, Origin of archaeological layers.

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