News / Africa

    Archeological Findings Reveal Central African History

    New discoveries indicate humans settled Cameroon 5000 years ago

    Archeological Findings Reveal Central African History
    Archeological Findings Reveal Central African History

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Archeologists say the findings mark a breakthrough that requires a rewriting of the history of Cameroon and the rest of Central Africa.  Artifacts from hundreds of archeological sites from southern Chad to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Cameroon have turned up several surprises.

    The research was conducted between 1999 and 2004 as construction was underway on the underground petroleum pipeline. The pipeline is sponsored by the World Bank and runs from Chad to the port of Kribi, Cameroon.

    Archeological Findings Reveal Central African History
    Archeological Findings Reveal Central African History

    Researchers say at first, they set out merely to deepen their archeological knowledge of the areas straddling the pipeline trench, which is more than 1000 kilometers long.  

    But Professor Scott MacEachern says they found more.  According to MacEachern a specialist in African Archeology at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, 472 archeological sites along the area in both Cameroon and Chad were found .some dating back to as long ago as 100,000 years. He says, “ we found sites where people had lived, where people had stored food, where people had made tools of iron.  Before people in this area used iron, they made a whole variety of different kinds of tools including axes, arrow points, knives and fire scrapers from stone.  These are artifacts from a site in southern Cameroon.  It’s a small rock shelter.  It has a history of about 5,000 years.”

    Other artifacts excavated by the researchers include pottery and iron-smelting furnaces.

    In late May, scores of researchers from around the world converged on the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, for the International Conference on Rescue Archeology.  At the meeting archeologists introduced the new findings in a book titled: “Kome-Kribi: Rescue Archeology Along the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline; 1999-2004.

    The researchers have urged governments in Central Africa to use the new documents to rewrite regional history.  They say knowledge of a people’s cultural heritage and historical evolution is crucial in understanding their value and contribution to the world.

    It adds a lot to our knowledge but also links different kinds of archeological culture according to Pierre de Maree a professor of anthropology and archeology with decades of fieldwork across Africa.

    “ We’re  starting to see what was going on about 3,000 years ago around Yaounde,”  Maree explains.   

    “This is very interesting because what we see is more and more evidence of a very sophisticated culture of who was settling the forest 3000 years ago.  When I started to work in Cameroon almost 40 years ago, people had the idea that Cameroonians were not from here.  In fact, archeology proves that the present different groups have been living in the same place for thousands of years,” Maree says.

    Officials at Cameroon’s Ministry of Culture pledge to preserve the research findings and act on recommendations of the archeologists.  They include the creation of a national commission on cultural heritage, which would work to avoid the destruction of archeological sites during major infrastructure projects. Other recommendations are the construction of a national museum and the strengthening of laws on the conservation of cultural artifacts.  

    They are all in line with global objectives laid down at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro relating to the preservation of the heritage of human beings.

    Raymond Asombang is a lecturer in the Department of Archeology at the University of Yaounde.  He says for the time being, the relics will be preserved until government acts on the recommendations.

    “We’re going to keep them in museums where people will come to see, to know that people lived in Cameroon at a certain era; that this is what they were able to achieve – because we need to know that in civilization, you are only adding your own contribution to the contributions of other people.  So when we see what our ancestors have done, we will know what our contribution to that civilization will be,” Asombang says.

    Archeologists say they will continue digging for clues to ancient Cameroon so today’s Africans can have an accurate understanding of the past.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.