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Metals, Stones and Pots by the Rasikajy: Technological transfer and exchange network in North-Eastern Madagascar (circa 700 - 1700 AD)

English title Metals, Stones and Pots by the Rasikajy: Technological transfer and exchange network in North-Eastern Madagascar (circa 700 - 1700 AD)
Applicant Serneels Vincent
Number 172794
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Sciences de la Terre Département des Géosciences Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Archaeology
Start/End 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2021
Approved amount 668'565.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Archaeology
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (9)

Metallurgy; Ceramic; Indian Ocean; Madagascar; Iron; Archaeometry; Soapstone; Middle Ages; Archaeology

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Entre 700 et 1700 AD environ, un grand réseau d’échanges se met en place à travers l’Océan Indien où circulent les produits de l’Afrique, de l’Arabie, de l’Inde et de l’Extrême Orient. La partie Nord de Madagascar est intégrée dans ce grand commerce et voit se développer des villes portuaires islamisées. Ces populations apportent un nouveau mode de vie et exploitent les richesses naturelles de l’île. Le projet vise à étudier la production du fer, de la céramique et des vases en pierre (chloritoschistes) pour comprendre les transferts de technologie et les réseaux d’échanges.
Lay summary

Entre 700 et 1700 AD environ, la côte Nord-Est de Madagascar a été occupée par des populations islamisées, les “Rasikajy”. Une dizaine de sites portuaires, avec des bâtiments et des nécropoles, ont été repérés le long du littoral mais ils demeurent très mal connus, faute de recherches archéologiques.

Le projet prévoit d’étudier les vestiges de l’exploitation des ressources naturelles. On signale des scories métallurgiques qui témoignent de la production de fer. On connaît des carrières de chloritoschiste, utilisée pour la fabrication de récipients. Enfin, il y a une importante production de céramique locale. Des campagnes annuelles de prospections et de fouilles archéologiques se dérouleront sur le terrain. Les matériaux seront caractérisés par différentes techniques de laboratoire pour comprendre les technologies mises en oeuvre et reconstituer les réseaux d’échanges.

Ces travaux seront menés à bien en étroite collaboration avec les archéologues de Madagascar.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 12.05.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Pierre et fer à Madagascar (2) - Les scories d'Amborolana et les carrières de Milanoa
Serneels Vincent, Morel Mélissa, Nitsche Christoph, Radimilahy Chantal, Rakotoarisoa Jean-Aimé, Rasoarifetra Bako, Schreurs Guido, Velomora Sylvain (2019), Pierre et fer à Madagascar (2) - Les scories d'Amborolana et les carrières de Milanoa, in SLSA Jahresbericht , 2019, 313-366.
Pierre et Fer à Madagascar (1) - Vestiges sidérurgiques de Benavony et de la rivière Matavy
Serneels Vincent, MorelMélissa, NitscheChristoph, RadimilahyChantal, RakotoarisoaJean-Aimé, RasoarifetraBako, SchreursGuido (2018), Pierre et Fer à Madagascar (1) - Vestiges sidérurgiques de Benavony et de la rivière Matavy, in Jahresbericht Schweizerisch-Liechtensteinish Stiftung für archäologische Forschung im Ausland, 2017, 109-156.
Pierre et fer à Madagascar (3) - La carrière de Bobalila
SerneelsVincent, MorelMélissa, NitscheChristoph, RadimilahyChantal, RakotoarisoaJean-Aimé, RasoarifetraBako, SchreursGuido, VelomoraSylvain, Pierre et fer à Madagascar (3) - La carrière de Bobalila, in SLSA Jahresbericht , 2019.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Rasoarifetra, Bako, Université d'Antananarivo, Musée des Civilisations Madagascar (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Radimilahy, Chantal, Université de Antananarivo, Musée des Civilisations Madagascar (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Schreurs, Guido, Institut de Géologie, Université de Berne Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Indian Ocean World Archaeology Conference Talk given at a conference Petrology and Medieval Indian Ocean Trade: Studying Amphibole-bearing Softstone Vessels and Quarries in Northern Madagascar 10.01.2020 Exceter University, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Serneels Vincent; Nitsche Christoph;
Indian Ocean World Archaeology Conference Talk given at a conference Production and Consumption of Iron on the northeastern coast of Madagascar during the 11th to the 15th century 10.01.2020 Exceter University, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Morel Mélissa; Serneels Vincent;
19th Swiss Geosciences Meeting Talk given at a conference How can slag mineralogy help us to understand the temperature and reduction conditions in a low furnace? The example of iron metallurgy on northeastern coast of Madagacsar 23.11.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Morel Mélissa; Serneels Vincent;
3d Meeting young Researchers in Archaeometry Talk given at a conference Production of iron on the northeastern coast of Madagascar during the 11th to the 15th century 24.09.2019 Paris - Nanterre, France Morel Mélissa;
Archaeometallurgy in Europe 5 Talk given at a conference Iron Metallurgy on the northeastern Coast of Madagascar 19.06.2019 Miskolc, Hungary Serneels Vincent; Morel Mélissa;
22th Meeting of the Groupe pour les Méthodes Pluridisciplinaires Contribuant à l'Archéologie Talk given at a conference Iron Metallurgy on the north eastern coast of Madagascar (5th - 15th century): Study of the variability of technologies 09.05.2019 Montréal, Canada Morel Mélissa;
22th Meeting of the Groupe pour les Méthodes Pluridisciplinaires Contribuant à l'Archéologie Poster Petrology and Medieval Indian Ocean trade: Studying Amphibole-bearing Softstone Vessels and Quarries in North Eastern Madagascar 09.05.2019 Montréal, Canada Nitsche Christoph;
Swiss Geosciences Meeting 2018 Talk given at a conference Petrology and Medieval Indian Ocean Trade: Studying Amphibole-bearing Softstone Vessels and Quarries in North Eastern Madagascar. 01.12.2018 Berne, Switzerland Nitsche Christoph; Serneels Vincent;
Rencontre Annuelle de la Société Archéologique Francaise pour l'Etude des Mines et des Métallurgies Talk given at a conference La production du fer sur la côte Nord-Est de Madagascar (10e-15e siècle) 26.10.2018 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany Morel Mélissa;
12th Meeting of the Association for the study of Marble and other Stones in Antiquity Talk given at a conference Amphibole-bearing Softstone Vessels and Quarries in North Eastern Madagascar 08.10.2018 Izmir, Turkey Nitsche Christoph; Serneels Vincent;
Young Researchers in Archaeometry, 2d workshop Talk given at a conference Petrology and Medieval Indian Ocean Trade: Recent Prospection for Softstone Vessels and Quarries in North Eastern Madagascar. 23.09.2018 Berlin, Germany Nitsche Christoph;
24th Biannual meeting of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists Talk given at a conference The iron production on the North-Eastern coast of Madagascar 18.06.2018 Toronto, Canada Morel Mélissa;
24th Biannual meeting of the Society of Africanists Archaeologists Talk given at a conference Recent research on mineral resources exploitation in the northeast of Madagascar (10th-15th Century AD) 18.06.2018 Toronto, Canada Nitsche Christoph; Morel Mélissa;
18e colloque de l'Union Internationale des Sciences Pré et Protohistoriques Talk given at a conference La production du fer dans le nord-est de Madagascar 04.06.2018 Paris, France Morel Mélissa; Serneels Vincent;
Doctoral Program in Mineralogical Sciences Talk given at a conference Amphibole-bearing Softstone Vessels and Quarries in North Eastern Madagascar 19.01.2018 Fribourg, Switzerland Nitsche Christoph;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Musée d'Histoire d'Antananarivo, Madagascar International 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Département de Géosciences, Université de Fribourg Western Switzerland 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) dépliant d'information International 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Institut Français de Madagascar, Antananarivo International 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris International 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Préfecture de la région SAVA, sambava,Madagascar International 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124657 Evolution paléoclimatique et peuplement humain en Afrique de l'Ouest 01.04.2009 Project funding (special)
105491 La pierre ollaire: un artisanat alpin. Matériaux, Technologie, Economie et Histoire 01.11.2004 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The civilization of the Rasikajy flourished in the North-Eastern part of Madagascar, between 1000 and 1500 AD approximately. This Islamized population lived on the coast and participated in the great trade of the Indian Ocean, importing manufactured artefacts from China, India and Middle East and exporting the products of the hinterland. The Rasikajy share many common features with the Swahili peoples of the East African coast but show also specific characteristics.The project aims to study three different materials: soapstone, iron and ceramic, to investigate technological transfers and exchange networks. Production sites (quarries and workshops) will be investigated on the field (survey, test pits and archaeological excavations). The raw materials, the production wastes and the finished products will be characterized using petrographical analyses (microscopy, XRF, XRD, SEM). The results will allow 1) the identification of the geographic and cultural origin of the technologies used, 2) the estimate of the scale of the production and 3) the reconstruction of the diffusion patterns of the products. Comparison with the distribution patterns of imported goods like fine Islamic or Chinese ceramics and glass beads will be made.Three campaigns of archaeological field survey are planned in the frame of this SNF project (3 x 4 weeks). In parallel, two large scale archaeological excavations will be organized with the funding of the SLSA (2 x 4 weeks). The petrographical analyses will be performed at the Department of Geosciences in Fribourg and will be about 200 samples of soapstone, 200 metallurgical wastes and 100 ceramics.
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