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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs