Oldest African pottery found in Mali

This video is called Pottery making Walo 2010 (Dogon people of Mali).

From the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in Switzerland:

Swiss archaeologist digs up West Africa’s past

A Swiss-led team of archaeologists has discovered pieces of the oldest African pottery in central Mali, dating back to at least 9,400BC.

The sensational find by Geneva University‘s Eric Huysecom and his international research team, at Ounjougou near the Unesco-listed Bandiagara cliffs, reveals important information about man’s interaction with nature.

The age of the sediment in which they were found suggests that the six ceramic fragments – discovered between 2002 and 2005 – are at least 11,400 years old.

Most ancient ceramics from the Middle East and the central and eastern Sahara regions are 10,000 and between 9:10,000 years old, respectively. …

Huysecom is convinced that pottery was invented in West Africa to enable man to adapt to climate change.

Oldest pottery in Europe: here. In Scandinavia: here.

Researchers in China have dug up the oldest known pottery. How ancient is it? The late Paleolithic: 14,000 to 21,000 years old, according to a study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: here.

This may not be news to everyone, but it’s news to me: there is a cave site in Hunan province, China, containing potsherds dated to 15,000-18,000 years ago: here.

East Asian hunter-gatherer populations living about 700 kilometers apart made and used cooking pots in contrasting ways between around 16,200 and 10,200 years ago, says a team led by Shinya Shoda, an archaeologist currently based at the University of York in England. Each of those groups probably invented its own distinctive pottery-making techniques, the scientists suspect: here.

5 thoughts on “Oldest African pottery found in Mali

  1. I have found a fragment of pottery 2 days ago in sierra Leone. The fragment was found in diamond bearing gravel 2,5m below the surface close to a large river in partially solidified rock layer. I am a british geologist and feel that the strata is very old. Possibly the fragment should be carbon dated.




  2. 13 July 2009

    Africa’s oldest ceramic unearthed in Mali

    Archaeologists from Geneva University have discovered what they claim is Africa’s oldest ceramic, dated at around 9,400 BCE, in eastern Mali. “It’s a tiny, ornate fragment that was made with great skill and the use of fire,” said ethno-archaeologist Anne Mayor in Bamako, the Malian capital. Mayor is part of an eight-person Swiss team in the country, comprising five scientists from Geneva and three from Fribourg, who are working with colleagues from Mali, Germany and France.
    The find was made in the area of the Dogon people, whose main territory is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment, a sandstone cliff up to 500m high and which stretches for about 150km. Swiss archaeologists have been digging in the area for 20 years. Currently they are concentrating in Ounjougou, “a unique location with massive potential for discoveries”, according to Mayor. The aim of the project is to learn more about humans and the environment during the Palaeolithic Period. The first settlements in the region date from around a million years ago.

    Source: Swissinfo.ch (9 July 2009)



  3. Pingback: Prehistoric pottery, older than agriculture? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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