BantuFirst workshop An Archaeology of the Bantu Expansion: early settlers south of the Congo rainforest



Between 2018 and 2022 the BantuFirst archaeology team conducted seven field seasons across Kinshasa, Kwilu, Mai-Ndombe, and Kongo-Central provinces. Through a combination of large-scale survey and targeted excavations, the project has identified 176 new sites ranging in age from the Middle Stone Age (~300ka BP) through the colonial period. Excavations at 26 of these locations has produced voluminous new information on the changing material culture, subsistence practices, and settlement patterns of the communities south of the Congo rainforest, as well as the evolving palaeoenvironmental conditions in which they lived.

This data also includes c. 100 new carbon-14 dates, extending from 30ka – 400 BP, with which these processes have been radiometrically anchored. This BantuFirst workshop is meant to prepare an edited book volume that will publish, contextualize and valorize this wealth of new and varied datasets. It will develop from these original data new insights on early settlement south of the Congo rainforest over the last three millennia, and challenge settled truths about the Bantu Expansion. In order to expand the scope and perspectives, multiple subject experts unaffiliated with the BantuFirst project have been included as contributors to the workshop and the volume.

Where? Simon Stevin Room, Plateau-Rozier, Jozef Plateaustraat 22 (Day 1); Faculty Council Room, Blandijnberg 2 (Day 2)

When? March 29-30, 2023, 12pm-6pm

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