Africa Praehistorica 6, Köln 1993
Hans-Peter Wotzka:

- 582 pp.
- 105  plates
- 224 tables
- 21 maps
- 46 line illustrations
- 33 bw. photographs
- English and French summaries
- hardcover, half linen-bound, size 21 x 28 cm

ISBN 3-927688-07-X
Recommended price: 20,00 EUR

The spread of the Bantu languages over most of sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a major topical issue in the continent's culture history. Archaeological terra incognita until very recently, the Central African rain forest was doomed to play only minor roles in linguistic and historical reconstructions of Bantu prehistory. Systematic fieldwork at the heart of the equatorial forest has changed this situation.
This book documents and synthesizes the results of a long term river reconnaissance project in the Inner Zaïre Basin, directed by Manfred K.H. Eggert and financed by "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft". More than 11,000 richly decorated pottery specimens, partly excavated from pit deposits or other settlement features, and partly surface finds, are attributed to 35 style groups and seriated into a sequence with radiocarbon dates from 400 BC to the present day. The ceramics covering this period bear witness to continuous stylistic change within a series of closely related regional trajectories, originating from a single 'ancestral' style, labelled the Imbonga group. Distributional analysis reveals successive stages of human penetration of the interior, moving upstream along the major eastern tributaries of the Zaïre river. In an attempt to relate the archaeologically established settlement sequence to the history of the Bantu expansion, a critical and up-to-date survey is provided of pertinent linguistic reconstructions and of both central and west-central African archaeology. The theoretical and methodological problems inherent in the integration of archaeology and historical linguistics are considered, together with a hypothesis on the stylistic and geographical origins of the Imbonga group, to open up promising lines for historical synthesis.