Oldest traces of settlements in region found in Burkina Faso

Polish archaeologists discovered previously unknown settlement sites in Burkina Faso, West Africa, possibly being the oldest in the region. Among the finds are burial mounds, tells and numerous artefacts dating back even 50000 years.

Examination of a burial mound (by Krzysztof Rak)

During the first season of the project, archaeologists surveyed the area and chosen sites for excavations. They area located in the Pobé-Mengao department, northern Burkina Faso. The area is inhabited by the Kurumba people, who originally came from the region of present Mali and Niger in the period between 13th-14th century AD. The first stage of the research consisted of field surveys which determined the surface spread of archaeological materials and helped to establish archaeological sites. Among the surface finds were pieces of pottery as well as stone tools and by-products, which can be dated to between 50000-15000 years to the past, being the oldest traces of human occupation of the area.

A tell studied by Polish archaeologists (by Krzysztof Rak)

Archaeologists studied also the abandoned village of Damfelenga Dangomde which is in a form of a tell, a settlement mound which was artificially created through accumulation of man-made structures. So far it was only known that the place was inhabited until the end of 19th century, when the Kurumba moved to the present capital, Pobé-Mengao. Archaeologists managed to determine that the tell was inhabited about 2000 years ago, many centuries before the Kurumba arrived. In the vicinity of the tell a burial ground was discovered, formerly believed to be an abandoned village. Within this area numerous burial mounds, made of stones and dirt were documented. The mounds were dated to before 1300 AD. The largest of a couple of dozen mounds measures nearly 2 metres in hight.

Study of the burial mound (by Krzysztof Rak)

(after Krzysztof Rak & Nauka w Polsce)

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