Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Evidence of Ancient African Societies

Paul Sereno and Elena Garcea excavate adjacent burials at Gobero, the largest graveyard discovered to date in the Sahara. (photo courtesy: New York Times)

Sadly, very little is known about ancient African societies. I got into a long discussion with a good West African friend of mine about this. I kept asking him for books about ancient African societies (outside of the Egyptians). Surely they must have had civilizations; but where's the information about it?? He voiced equal amounts of frustration. There were a few; but hardly any had the information we were looking for. As a student in Africa, so little of your history lessons are focused on your own country or continent. Most of it is focused on the world, and is extremely euro-centric (stunner!). But more frustrating than anything else is the fact that only a miniscule percentage of Africans even seem to care! Most of you might say...well, they are struggling for survival, so they don't have time! Well, I've seen evidence enough of well-fed Africans running around who have the time and money, but don't care...

In one of the (possibly) biggest archaeological stories of the century, the NY Times reported on a set of graves from the pre-Stone Age period that have been found in the Saharan desert. Pictures and history are slowly making their way out of there. How wonderful. Apparently the desert used to be lush and green. There's so much to learn from our past, so we don't make the same mistakes again. Hopefully more stories like this will make their way out. And hopefully it'll be Africans uncovering their biggest stories in the future!!

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