Ecological and cultural change in West and Central Africa

Research Unit 510





Project coordinators

Peter Breunig, Katharina Neumann

Scientific collaborators

A. Höhn, S. Kahlheber, C. Magnavita, A. Ngomanda, N. Rupp, A. Schweizer, B. Tchiengué.

The project was conducted together with Prof. Manfred Eggert (Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen) and Prof. Jürgen Runge (Institut für Physische Geographie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt).

Cooperation partners

University of Maiduguri, Nigeria; National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Nigeria; Herbier National de Cameroun, Yaoundé.

Short description

Cultural and ecological changes in West and Central Africa between 1000 BC and 500 AD were the central research topic of the Research Group 510. During this period, the first complex societies emerge in West Africa, ceramic producing populations immigrate into the Central African rainforest, the knowledge of iron metallurgy develops, and Bantu languages are spreading. What is the relationship of these cultural developments with climate, vegetation and landscape changes?

In a transect from the semi-arid Sahel to the equatorial rainforest, archaeologists, archaeobotanists and geographers were meeting this challenge. The broad geographical frame, covering the Nigerian Chad Basin, the Nok culture in Central Nigeria, and Southwest Cameroon, allowed for a supra-regional perspective.


Archaeobotany and vegetation history in SW Cameroon

Settlement history of the Lake Chad region, Nigeria

The Nigerian Nok Culture