The architecture and chemistry of a dug-out: the Dufuna Canoe in ethno-archaeological perspective

  • It is the intention of this paper to highlight the processes involved in the production of a dug-out. Two disciplines appear strikingly clear in the title of this paper; architecture and chemistry. It is deliberate, exhibiting the multifaceted approach to issues in archaeology. The Dufuna canoe, the main subject of the discussion, is entirely an organic material, long used by prehistoric populations, abandoned and covered in a huge deposit of earth, unearthed by the spade in two streams of excavations for the purpose of dating, measurements, documentation, which yielded a date of 8500 years as the oldest canoe in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Who could have produced such an "artefact"? These and other related questions are fundamental towards the understanding of the history and society that lived in that environment in prehistory. Since we are dealing with a single "artefact" produced by prehistoric populations, long gone and extinct, we would not be in a position to reconstruct the processes of manufacture of the dug-out by any source other than by ethno-archaeological and ethnographic investigation and experiment of the contemporary society which manipulates similar environment with a view to stimulating the past mode of production. The method used in the data collection was by oral interviews and field observation.

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Author:Abubakar Garba
Parent Title (German):Berichte des Sonderforschungsbereichs 268
Series (Serial Number):Berichte des Sonderforschungsbereichs 268 (08, 193)
Publisher:SFB 268
Place of publication:Frankfurt, M.
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2006/12/18
Year of first Publication:1996
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2006/12/18
Page Number:8
First Page:193
Last Page:200
Institutes:Zentrale Einrichtung / SFB 268
Dewey Decimal Classification:9 Geschichte und Geografie / 93 Geschichte des Altertums (bis ca. 499), Archäologie / 930 Geschichte des Altertums bis ca. 499, Archäologie
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht