Archaeology and Architecture
DOI link for Archaeology and Architecture
Archaeology and Architecture book
Early writings by westerners about Djenné’s archaeology include a book written by Lieutenant Louis Desplagnes entitled Le Plateau Central Nigérien (Desplagnes, 1907). Lieutenant Desplagnes spent two years in the French Sudan examining archaeological material as well as architecture. As did Monteil earlier, he postulated a North African diffusionist model of culture, finding Arabic influences in the architecture he encountered in West Africa. His travels took him to Djenné, as is described in a review of his book written by H. R. P (1908: 107) in the journal Man:
This diffusionist model of culture was first comprehensively challenged by the excavations of Djenné-Djeno carried out by the McIntoshes in 1977 (McIntosh, 1998). If cities, long-distance trade, states, and empires had been brought to West Africa through the influence of Arabic traders, they should not have been present in the archaeological record before the 9th or 10th century C.E. However, archaeological excavations at Djenné-Djeno concluded that it had been founded around 250 B.C.E., becoming a city in the full sense in about 450 C.E., extending over an area of 33 hectares at its apogee around 900 C.E. There was not enough material culture from North Africa found during the excavation to support a theory of Islamic Diffusionism. Instead, Djenné-Djeno is the earliest excavated example of an African City (McIntosh, 1998).