McIntosh, Susan Keech, and Roderick J. McIntosh. "Recent archaeological research and dates from West Africa." The Journal of African History 27.03 (1986): 413-442. http://www.jstor.org/stable/181410 Excavations early in this century at El Oualedji and Killi tumuli revealed wooden burial chambers with rich grave goods and probable human sacrifices, closely reminiscent of the burial ritual for the pagan king of the Ghana Empire described by al-Bakri in io68
Al Bakri description – these tombs were lovcated in scared groves whee only priests were allowed.
When their king dies they construct over the place where his tomb will be an enormous dome of saj wood. Then they bring him on a bed covered with a few carpets and cushions and place him inside the dome. At his side they place his ornaments, his weapons, and the vessels from which he used to eat and drink, filled with various kinds of food and beverages. They place there too the men who used to serve his meals. They close the door of the dome and cover it with mats and furnishings. Then the people assemble, who heap earth upon it until it becomes like a big hillock and dig a ditch around it until the mound can be reached at only one place.
Killi, bird figurine copper based (brass made to look like gold een though gold was available. Vﬁth 27-31% zinc, the ﬁnal colour of the animal ﬁgurines has a golden lint very close to that of true gold (Fig. 9)? The tumulus of Koi Gourrey dates to a peak time in the exploita- tion of the gold deposits of upper Senegal and Niger rivers (beginning around the end of the 13th century). This was also the time for Munde traders (Mali empire traders) to search for new gold supplies, going as far south as modern Ghana and the east Ivory Coast in their quest. Why then were these ﬁgurines made of an alloy that imitates gold and not simply made of gold?
The texts written by Arabic geographers and travellers at the time of ancient Mali give us some clues. They stress two things. First, the Muslim rulers of the Mali Empire of the 13th—14th century AD were tolerant of the pagan state of peoples in their empire. In son1e cases, moreover, they seem to have been more than just tolerant — they were eager to have them maintained in this pagan state. These were populations living close to the gold mines and involved in gold mining.“ Secondly, these populations were mining gold in order to obtain salt, but they were also more than willing to exchange gold for another metal, copper. To acquire this copper, the pagan natives accepted a totally unfair exchange rate: up to 2/3 of its weight in gold5 whereas, at the same lime, among the Mali elite, this same copper had little value.‘
Monumnetal grave with multiple bodies
Fatimid coin Tripoli 1072-3. Analysis of Fatamid and Almoravid coins are consistent with being made from West African gold. Earlier coins were made from melted Byzantine and Visigothic coins.
1-14 : perles de verre ; 15-23 : céramiques d’Afrique du Nord et d’Asie ; 24 : fragment de verre ; 25 : textile (soie) ; 26 : cauri ; 27 : agate brut ; 28-30 : perles de pierre semi-précieuse ; 31-32 : objets en cuivre.
Ghana (Arabic) = Wagadu (Soninke)??
Leaders: ghana (Arabic) or manga, magha, or
Oral histories collected in the late 19th century
• Domesticated bulrush millet
• No evidence of irrigation
Trade Routes &
11th and 12th C. CE
‘Fil à double tête”
Garenne-Marot, Laurence. "‘Fils à double tête’and Copper-based Ingots: Copper Money-objects at the
Time of the Sahelian Empires of Ancient Ghana and Mali." Money in Africa 171 (2009): 11.
– Narrow streets and open
plazas with a dry-stone wall
– Connected with shared
• Dwelling units
– Single hearth: one or
many storage areas
– Two to nine: extended or
West African Gold Coins
• Described as ‘bald’
– Blank or simple design
• Single Tadmekka merchant annually sent
across the Sahara 16 bags containing 500
dinars each (8000 in total, c. 34kg of gold)