chapter  9
20 Pages

Making an Earth Granary: Embedded and Embodied Technology

The earth granaries of the Dogon people stand as a prominent characteristic of their domestic landscape. Dogon granaries, warm beige-coloured containers, square in plan and crested with a conical thatch roof-hat, compose the compound’s enclosure or stand independently within it. Each is built on a set of stone pillars or a rock, which adapt remarkably well to the uneven and steep topography of the Bandiagara escarpment scree. Dogon architecture is camouflaged within the surrounding landscape of the escarpment scree and, with their back walls facing the Séno Gondo plain, their granaries create a series of ramparts that functioned as a fortification against invasions (Lauber 1998). In fact, with their lofty stature, these storage facilities constitute a thick fence that conveys a sense of both impenetrability and intimacy, providing a structure of containment in a landscape of scarcity.