Forgotten Africa: An Introduction to Its Archaeology

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ARCHAEOLOGY Graham Connah. Forgotten Africa: An Introduction to Its Archaeology. London: Routledge, 2004. xiii + 193 pp. Illustrations. Bibliography. Index. $33.95. Paper.

Graham Connah has produced a book that should be very useful to a wide range of readers. He makes four million years of the African past accessible to a general readership through this book of twenty-nine short chapters, each written in clear and nontechnical language. In his introduction, Connah comments that while there are a number of solid works on African archaeology, they are generally directed to fellow archaeologists, and thus are frequently overlooked by the nonspecialist reader. The chapters in this book, averaging about six pages each, are organized around specific themes, such as the birth of humanity, hunting and foraging, rock art, food production, and trade and interaction. They are also organized geographically, so that, for example, there are separate short chapters on South African rock art and rock art of the Sahara. Similarly, food production is addressed in two chapters, each focusing on die very different trajectories of West Africa and Northeast and East Africa. The chapters focusing on later prehistory deal with specific regions, such as the Inland Niger Delta, Nubia, Egypt, the forest states of West Africa, and so forth.

Particularly refreshing for a book dealing with the archaeology of Africa, this book addresses the entire continent and includes chapters on Carthaginian, Greek, and Roman settlements in North Africa, Islamic North Africa, the Indian Ocean world, and the establishment of European settlements and later colonies on the coasts of Africa. …