Archéologie des rivages : habiter le littoral de la Préhistoire aux Temps modernes A noter / Autour de la Préhistoire 3rd Palaeontological Virtual Congress

Procurement, Trade, Use And Value of Minerals in Ancient Africa

Congrès, colloques, réunions


9-11 février 2022





Concept Note


Africa has a wealth of mineral resources which were used in various cultural settings and played a major role in the emergence and development of major cultural groups from at least the 6th millennium onward.


Minerals from Ethiopia (obsidian, amazonite) are closely associated to the emergence of social complexity in the Neolithic of the Sudanese Nile Valley and further north, in Predynastic Egypt.


Minerals and semiprecious stones represented prestigious elements possibly traded over large distances in the Neolithic of the Sahara.
In Dynastic Egypt, raw materials have been massively used for large architectural structures while luxury goods made use of rare minerals and precious metals, either mined locally or imported from remote sources.


In several part of Central and Southern Africa, copper has played during the last two millennia a major economic and social role, comparable to that of gold in other regions in the world.


Even if the upstream part of the supply chain is specific to each context, it is the purpose to check how the downstream aspects (use, value) compare in the various case studies (a.o. the Saharan Neolithic, pharaonic Egypt, pre-colonial Africa).


The conference aims at exploring the procurement, trade, use and value of minerals in Africa.

The proposed approach is intrinsically multidisciplinary as the study of procurement, sourcing and use of minerals gathers specialists from different research fields – geology, archaeology, anthropology, history, art history, philology, etc.

The focus is on Africa as a whole and the time ranges from the Prehistory to the end of the 19thC.


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