Archaeology, Language, and the African Past

By (author) Roger Blench

Publication date:

22 June 2006

Length of book:

388 pages


AltaMira Press

ISBN-13: 9780759104655

Archaeology, Language, and the African Past is an overview of theories and methods, a fusion of African linguistics and archaeology. Roger Blench provides a comprehensive look at the history of all African language families, incorporating the latest linguistic classifications, current evidence from archaeology, genetic research, and recorded history. This original and definitive volume examines the economic culture of the continent_from major crops and plant life to animals and livestock_from a multi-dimensional perspective. It provides students of linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology with a critical discussion on the history of African languages and the cultures they articulate.
This book is an enthusiastic plea in favour of more intensive and dynamic trans-disciplinary collaboration for the reconstruction of the African past. With a comprehensive survey of methodological issues, the author offers a good insight in what we can credibly recover from the historical study of languages. He develops a series of inspiring assumptions on the origin and expansion of Africa's language families by linking the most recent linguistic data—often collected by himself—with evidence from archaeology, genetics, ethnography, and oral traditions. He also delves into the economic history of the continent through the comparative study of plant and animal vocabularies, a field of research which unfortunately too few other scholars in African linguistics have explored.