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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Action on Matter: The History of the Uniquely African Tamper and Concave Anvil Pot-Forming Technique
Authors:Sterner, Judy
David, Nicholas
Periodical:Journal of African Archaeology
Geographic terms:Sahel
Anthropology and Archaeology
History and Exploration
Abstract:Mostly based on new data published largely by ethnoarchaeologists on the tamper and concave anvil technique of potforming (TCA) this paper reassesses this technique, its toolkit and its culture history. It begins with a description of TCA in the Mandara Mountains of Cameroon, where the authors have been working since 1984. The TCA technique has high potential for the efficient production of spherical water jars of high volume to weight ratio, much appreciated in arid environments. It is used by diverse peoples representing three of Africa's four indigenous language phyla who live or lived between 10 and 18 degrees North and from the Malian Inland Niger Delta to the Lower Blue Nile and the Nuba mountains in Sudan, extending down the Nile to Egypt. There are variations across the Sahel and neighbouring zones in the gender and social status of potters, in their other occupations, the part or full time nature of their work, and in their tool kits, postures, the production sequences, productivity and production. The origins and diffusion of the technique are assessed in the light of the ethnological, archaeological, linguistic and historical evidence, and a four stage historical development is sketched. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [ASC Leiden abstract]