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Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement - Culture - Nairaland

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Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 9:08pm On Jun 11, 2013
I already knew about this civilization. But I wanted to share in case non of you guys heard of it. This settlement is basically the ancestor of Ancient Ghana. Ancient Ghana came from this civilization.

Anyways enjoy. smiley

Abstract
The sandstone escarpment of the Dhar Tichitt in South-Central Mauritania was inhabited by Neolithic agropastoral communities for approximately one and half millennium during the Late Holocene, from ca. 4000 to 2300 BP. The absence of prior evidence of human settlement points to the influx of mobile herders moving away from the “drying” Sahara towards more humid lower latitudes. These herders took advantage of the peculiarities of the local geology and environment and succeeded in domesticating bulrush millet – Pennisetum sp. The emerging agropastoral subsistence complex had conflicting and/or complementary requirements depending on circumstances. In the long run, the social adjustment to the new subsistence complex, shifting site location strategies, nested settlement patterns and the rise of more encompassing polities appear to have been used to cope with climatic hazards in this relatively circumscribed area. An intense arid spell in the middle of the first millennium BC triggered the collapse of the whole Neolithic agropastoral system and the abandonment of the areas. These regions, resettled by sparse oasis-dwellers populations and iron-using communities starting from the first half of the first millennium AD, became part of the famous Ghana “empire”, the earliest state in West African history.
Source:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1631071309000996


Archaeological investigations in southern Mauretania have revealed a wealth of rather spectacular stone masonry villages which were occupied by prehistoric cultivators as early as 1000 B.C. It is argued that the inhabitants of these villages were Negro and very probably Soninke, and that the basic elements of their culture had developed without major influences from outside the area. The apparent sophistication and complexity of this cultural manifestation, combined with the close fit of developments in this area with Carneiro's theory of state formation, suggests that this prehistoric complex represented at least a powerful chiefdom which embodied many of the characteristics of subsequent West African states. The first demonstrable outside influences in the area began about 600 B.C. with the arrival of Libyco-Berbers from North Africa. Rather than causing still further cultural advances, the initial effect of this contact was the collapse of this sociopolitical organization. But with subsequent adjustment, plus the potential from trans-Saharan trade carried out by the North Africans, the basic, pre-existing pattern re-emerged, resulting eventually in a second and much more powerful African political organization in this area – the Ghana Empire.

The town inhabited by the king is six miles from the Muslim one and is called Al Ghana. The area between the two towns is covered with houses made of stone and wood. The king has a palace and conical huts, surrounded by a wall-like enclosure. In the king’s town, not far from the royal court of justice, is a mosque. The Muslims who come on missions to the king pray there. There is one great avenue, which crosses the town from east to west.

Source:
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=3241716
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 9:12pm On Jun 11, 2013
Tichitt-Walata Ruins...


Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 9:17pm On Jun 11, 2013
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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 9:33pm On Jun 11, 2013
The trade of the Phoenicians with the west coast of Africa had for its principal objects the procuring of ivory, of elephant, lion, leopard, and deer-skins, and probably of gold. Scylax relates that there was an established trade in his day (about B.C. 350) between Phoenicia and an island which he calls Cerne, probably Arguin, off the West African coast. "The merchants," he says, "who are Phoenicians, when they have arrived at Cerne, anchor their vessels there, and after having pitched their tents upon the shore, proceed to unload their cargo, and to convey it in smaller boats to the mainland. The dealers with whom they trade are Ethiopians; and these dealers sell to the Phoenicians skins of deer, lions, panthers, and domestic animals--elephants' skins also, and their teeth. The Ethiopians wear embroidered garments, and use ivory cups as drinking vessels; their women adorn themselves with ivory bracelets; and their horses also are adorned with ivory. The Phoenicians convey to them eointment, elaborate vessels from Egypt, castrated swine(?), and Attic pottery and cups. These last they commonly purchase [in Athens] at the Feast of Cups. These Ethiopians are eaters of flesh and drinkers of milk; they make also much wine from the vine; and the Phoenicians, too, supply some wine to them. They have a considerable city, to which the Phoenicians sail up." The river on which the city stood was probably the Senegal.

It will be observed that Scylax says nothing in this passage of any traffic for gold. We can scarcely suppose, however, that the Phoenicians, if they penetrated so far south as this, could remain ignorant of the fact that West Africa was a gold-producing country, much less that, being aware of the fact, they would fail to utilise it. Probably they were the first to establish that "dumb commerce" which was afterwards carried on with so much advantage to themselves by the Carthaginians, and whereof Herodotus gives so graphic an account. "There is a country," he says, "in Libya, and a nation, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which the Carthaginians are wont to visit, where they no sooner arrive than forthwith they unlade their wares, and having disposed them after an orderly fashion along the beach, there leave them, and returning aboard their ships, raise a great smoke. The natives, when they see the sample, come down to the shore, and laying out to view so much gold as they think the wares are worth, withdraw to a distance. The Carthaginians upon this come ashore again and look. If they think the gold to be enough, they take it and go their way; but if it does not seem to them sufficient, they go aboard ship once more, and wait patiently. Then the others approach and add to their gold, till the Carthaginians are satisfied. Neither party deals unfairly by the other: for they themselves never touch the gold till it comes up to the worth of their goods, nor do the natives ever carry off the goods until the gold has been taken away."

The nature of the Phoenician trade with the Canaries, or Fortunate Islands, is not stated by any ancient author, and can only be conjectured. It would scarcely have been worth the Phoenicians' while to convey timber to Syria from such a distance, or we might imagine the virgin forests of the islands attracting them. The large breed of dogs from which the Canaries derived their later name may perhaps have constituted an article of export even in Phoenician times, as we know they did later, when we hear of their being conveyed to King Juba; but there is an entire lack of evidence on the subject. Perhaps the Phoenicians frequented the islands less for the sake of commerce than for that of watering and refitting the ships engaged in the African trade, since the natives were less formidable than those who inhabited the mainland.


Information supplied by: "http://phoenicia.org



llustration of angus mcbride showing Phoenicians traders trading with Mandé merchants of the Pre-Imperial Mali of the Tichitt-Walata cliffs of Southern Mauritania in The 10th or 8th century BC.

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 3:55am On Jun 12, 2013
Bump...
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 6:49pm On Jun 12, 2013
Between 4000 BC and 1000 BC: At Tichitt-Walata—"Before 2000 BC, what is today the southern Sahara was inhabited by[b] significant numbers of herders and farmers[/b]. On the rocky promontories of the Tichitt-Walata (Birou) and Tagant Plateaus in modern day Mauritania, they built what are considered among the earliest known civilizations in western Africa. Composed of more than 400 stone masonry settlements, with clear street layouts, some settlements had massive surrounding walls while others were less fortified. In a deteriorating environment, where arable land and pasturage were at a premium, the population grew and relatively large-scale political organizations emerged - factors which no doubt explain the homogeneity of architecture, settlement patterns, and material culture (e.g., lithic and ceramic traditions). This agro-pastoral society traded in jewelry and semi-precious stones from distant parts of the Sahara and Sahel, while crafts, hunting, and fishing were also important economic pursuits...Their elites built funerary monuments for themselves over a period extending from 4000 to 1000 BC." [sources: see Ray A. Kea, and Mauny, R.(1971),“The Western Sudan” in Shinnie: 66-87. Monteil, Charles (1953),“La Légende du Ouagadou et l’Origine des Soninke” in Mélanges Ethnologiques (Dakar: Bulletin del’Institut Francais del’Afrique Noir)]

by ca. 3,000 BC the Saharan region enters into desiccation.

By 3,000 BC: Evidence of iron working and production in West Africa.

"In fact, only in Africa do you find such a range of practices in the process of direct reduction [a method in which metal is obtained in a single operation without smelting],and metal workers who were so inventive that they could extract iron in furnaces made out of the trunks of banana trees," says Hamady Bocoum, one of the authors.
[references: The Origins of Iron Metallurgy in Africa, 2002; "Iron Roads in Africa" project c/o UNESCO]

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 8:09pm On Jun 12, 2013
By contrast the area around Dar Tichitt in southern Mauritania has been the subject of much archaeological attention, revealing successive layers of settlement near what still were small lakes as late as 1200 BCE. At this time people there built circular compounds, 60-100 feet in diameter, near the beaches of the lakes. (‘Compound’ is the name given to a housing type, still common today, in which several members of related families share space within a wall.) These compounds were arranged into large villages located about 12 miles from each other. Inhabitants fished, herded cattle and planted some millet, which they stored in pottery vessels. This was the last era of reasonable moisture in this part of the Sahara. By 1000 BCE the villages, still made up of compounds, had been relocated to hilltop positions, and were walled. Cattle were still herded, more millet was grown, but there were no more lakes for fishing. From 700-300 BCE the villages decreased in size and farming was reduced at the expense of pastoralism.

Architecturally, the villages of Dar Tichitt resemble those of the modern northern Mande (Soninke), who live in the savanna 300-400 miles to the south. These ancient villagers were not only farmers, but were engaged in trade connected with the salt and copper mines which developed to the north. Horse drawn vehicles passed through the Tichitt valley, bringing trading opportunities, ideas, and opening up the inhabitants to raids from their more nomadic northern neighbors (1). Development of the social and political organization necessary to handle commerce and defense must have been a factor in the subsequent development of Ghana, the first great Sudanic empire, in this part of West Africa.


Source: Ancient African Civilizations To ca. 1500: Text Supplement and Study Guide for History/PAS 393 Dr. Susan J. Herlin

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 8:15pm On Jun 12, 2013
Before 2000 B.C. significant numbers of herders and farmers lived in what is today the southern Sahara, where they raised cattle, sheep, and goats, grew millet, hunted and fished in an environment of shallow lakes and grassy plains. These peoples were organized in spaces defined by exchanges over a wide area and their elites built funerary monuments for themselves over a period extending from ca. 4000 to ca.1000 B.C. The surplus was, in part, collectively used (cf.MacDonald 1998; also Smith 1992: 154–67). Environmental change and internal economic and social developments—e.g., peasantization—transformed the population in the second half of the second millennium and the first half of the first millennium B.C.

New relations of production centralized the social surplus and organized power and settlement hierarchies. Towns, villages, and hamlets of substantial stone masonry were built on the rocky promontories of the Tichitt-Walata and Tagant cliffs in the WS. In the plains below the cliffs, settlements of varying sizes and herding encampments were established. Archaeologists who name this historical formation the Tichitt Tradition date the settlements from about 4000 to 2000 years ago. The productive systems enabled the settlements to sustain a relatively dense population for a very long time (Holl 1993; Vernet 1993, chapter 7; Aumassip 1996: 14–15; Grebenart 1996; Khattar 1996; MacDonald 1998: 93–94; MacDonald n.d.). With its hundreds of settlements, the Tichitt Tradition is the earliest known urban-based core zone in the Western Sudan world-system. In the words of one archaeologist, its abandoned sites represent ―a great wealth of rather spectacular prehistoric ruins‖ and ―perhaps the most remarkable group of Neolithic settlements in the world‖ (Mauny 1971: 70). In their distribution and size, the ruins reveal the effects of tue spatialization of surplus centralization and distribution and the political relations and practices of power hierarchies. The power hierarchy model of the Tichitt Tradition was to expand to other areas in the first millennium B.C.

An urban core zone developed in the WS in the first half of the second millennium b.c. It represents the earliest known phase of urbanization in the Western Sudan world-system and occurred along the escarpments of Dhar Tichitt, Dhar Walata, and Dhar Tagant between 1600/1500 and 1000/900 B.C.(for an overview, see Mauny 1950; Vernet 1993, chapter 7. See Figure 3).

The Dhar Tichitt and Dhar Walata core formation consisted of more than 400 dry-stone settlement sites—hamlets, villages, and towns with clear street layouts—that were strung out along the escarpments for a distance of several hundred kilometers. Some settlements had massive surrounding walls, while others were not fortified. In a deteriorating environment, where arable land and pasturage were at a premium, the population grew and relatively largescale political organizations emerged which no doubt explains the homogeneity of architecture, settlement patterns, and material culture (e.g., lithic and ceramic traditions). With a mixed

farming economy—millet production combined with the rearing of cattle, sheep, and goats—this copper-using settlement complex imported from distant parts of the Sahara and Sahil stone bracelets, beads made from semi-precious stones, etc. Crafts, hunting, and fishing were other important economic pursuits (Mauny 1950: 36, 39; Munson 1980; Holl 1985; Holl 1993; Vernet 1993, chapter 7; MacDonald 1998: 74–77, 78, 79, 84–85, 93–94, 98–99; Connah 2001: 116–17).

Source: Expansions And Contractions: World-Historical Change And The Western Sudan World-System (1200/1000 B.C.–1200/1250 A.D.)
Journal of World-Systems Research, X,3, Fall 2004, 723-816

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 9:47pm On Jun 12, 2013
big ups to you for trying to bring the culture section back. smiley
you are a well learned brother and i enjoy reading your threads. smiley

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 9:53pm On Jun 12, 2013
*Kails*:
big ups to you for trying to bring the culture section back. smiley
you are a well learned brother and i enjoy reading your threads. smiley

Thanks Kails! smiley

Tichitt-Walata interests me a lot. It is possibly West Africa's OLDEST civilizations. Man most people say West Africans didn't even have ancient civilizations and they almost always focus on East Africa, but Walata proves them wrong. Tichitt had the oldest urban cities in sub-sahara Africa. We need to stop focusing on Ancient Egypt and focus more on West Africa. Archaeoligical work is seriously lacking in west Africa and the REST of Africa.

I may make an African timeline thread and then an African architecture thread. Stay tuned. smiley

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 10:05pm On Jun 12, 2013
KidStranglehold:

Thanks Kails! smiley

Tichitt-Walata interests me a lot. It is possibly West Africa's OLDEST civilizations. Man most people say West Africans didn't even have ancient civilizations and they almost always focus on East Africa, but Walata proves them wrong. Tichitt had the oldest urban cities in sub-sahara Africa. We need to stop focusing on Ancient Egypt and focus more on West Africa. Archaeoligical work is seriously lacking in west Africa and the REST of Africa.

I may make an African timeline thread and then an African architecture thread. Stay tuned. smiley

I agree with you. I am an Ancient Egypt fan for life! grin. I've always been this way since elementary school tongue. I have yet to see a civilization that rivals it's beauty, power and essence however, I have always wanted to know more about prehistoric west africa and their civilizations.

I don't think the issue is about WA not getting it's shine from the media or archaeology but the lack of interest to expose the history by WAs. But efforts have been made on NL to expose the hidden treasures of WA and I am glad a few people on here share my interest and are bringing it all out. smiley

please keep it up. I am just now returning to the culture section and would like to see some changes around here as well as be enlightened.

anyway enough with the derailment...im out. smiley

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 10:15pm On Jun 12, 2013
*Kails*:


I agree with you. I am an Ancient Egypt fan for life! grin. I've always been this way since elementary school tongue. I have yet to see a civilization that rivals it's beauty, power and essence however, I have always wanted to know more about prehistoric west africa and their civilizations.

I don't think the issue is about WA not getting it's shine from the media or archaeology but the lack of interest to expose the history by WAs. But efforts have been made on NL to expose the hidden treasures of WA and I am glad a few people on here share my interest and are bringing it all out. smiley

please keep it up. I am just now returning to the culture section and would like to see some changes around here as well as be enlightened.

anyway enough with the derailment...im out. smiley

To be quite honest, I really don't care for Ancient Egypt as I use to. We already know so much about it. Ancient Egypt is no longer that mystery civilization, it once was. The only thing I care about Ancient Egypt is the pharaohs, Gods(mainly) and symbols. My favorite symbol being the Eye of Ra.
[img]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vAs7V7zJQ04/TgX4F3WC3dI/AAAAAAAAAKE/v4GsDC2VVO4/s1600/Eye+of+Ra.png[/img]

Other than that Ancient Egypt really doesn't interest like that anymore. I don't care if you derail the thread just as long as the conversation is logical like this one.

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 5:55am On Jun 13, 2013
Bump...
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by PAPAAFRICA: 5:03am On Jun 15, 2013
[size=100pt]YEEZUS LEAKED NIGGAZZZ[/size]
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 5:13am On Jun 15, 2013
^^^^What was the point of you posting that?
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 6:25pm On Aug 04, 2013
Bump...
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by BlackKenichi(m): 4:52pm On Aug 05, 2013
Great thread.
More and more archaeologists, linguists and geneticists are finding more evidence revealing the history and civilizations of Africa. smiley
West Africa is defo understudied in terms archaeology, linguistics and genetics.

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Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 5:06pm On Aug 05, 2013
Wonderful thread...
#Kidstranglehold
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 5:55pm On Aug 05, 2013
@Black Kenichi

Agreed. More archaeological work needs to be done in Africa. I'm planning on posting another thread with more stone building in Africa.

@kwangi

Thanks!
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by harry1942: 9:18pm On Nov 10, 2013
Anyone wanting to follow the perhaps unexpected topic of a West African maritime history may wish to look at West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity and the related subjects on the stewartsynopsis site.
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by Nobody: 9:27pm On Nov 10, 2013
harry1942: Anyone wanting to follow the perhaps unexpected topic of a West African maritime history may wish to look at West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity and the related subjects on the stewartsynopsis site.

Hmmm...Seems interesting.
Re: Tichitt-Walata...Oldest West African Civilization/settlement by ruser0084: 5:24am On May 04, 2018
Hello,

Does anyone on who is commenting on this thread have access to any papers which describe recovery of ancient human remains from this Dhar Tichitt site? I once saw the introduction for such a paper but the main article was available through subscription. The introduction claimed that bones found buried at the site suggested that the inhabitants were ancestors of modern West Africans (most people would call them black people)
I would think that such evidence would resolve the controversy surrounding the origins of the settlement but aside from the aforementioned and only partially accessible article I have yet to see any real mention of such decisive evidence among scholars of archaeology. Thank you for any help any of you might provide to me in my quest for this information on Dhar Tichitt.

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