Skip to Main Content

African Archaeology Information Online: African Archaeology

Mainly free online resources - books, journals, photographs, maps, reports, data, films, conference papers, museums, academic associations, world heritage sites, university digital repositories.

African Archaeology

Subscrption required. Ebooks on art and architectural history published by The Art Institute of Chicago, The MIT Press, Yale University Press, Harvard Art Museums, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Includes an African section. Can search for images in the books.

Adams, William Y. - Down to Earth. Archaeology
Edited by Julie R. Anderson. London: Sudan Archaeological Research Society; Oxford, Archaeopress Publishing Ltd.,2022
.244 pages. Sixteen archaeological papers by Professor William Y. Adams and an autobiographical account. Series: SUDAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY PUBLICATION 25.

Addis Ababa University. Institutional Repository
Use the Search to find research on archaeology.

African Archaeology
News, links to web resources by African region, ancient maps, bibliographies, journals, Africanist archaeologists' web sites, discussion lists, directories, university programs, organizations. "developed from the "Anthropology Resources on the Internet" (ARI) directory.... started by Allen Lutins in 1995" Part of the World Wide Web Virtual Library. Maintained by Bernard Clist since 1999. [KF]

African Timelines
Chronology with descriptions for Ancient Africa, African Empires, African Slave Trade & European Imperialism, Anti-Colonialism, Post-Independence Africa, plus Sources for Further Study. Site by Cora Agatucci, Associate Professor of English, Central Oregon Community College, Bend, Oregon.

African World Heritage Fund
An international NGO, founded in 2006, "that supports the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972) on the African continent." "AWHF's mission is to build the required capacity for increasing the number of African sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List." Full text reports, articles, annual reports. Based in South Africa. [KF]

Archaeology Data Service
Database of journal articles. Depository for research data. The types of data involved include: text reports, databases (related to excavated contexts or artefacts, for example), images (including aerial photographs, remote sensing imagery, photographs of sites, features and artefacts), digitised maps and plans, numerical datasets related to topographical and sub-surface surveys and other locational data, as well as reconstruction drawings. Has the journal, Nigerian Field, 1931-2016. Based at the University of York.

Archaeology of Early Northeastem Africa [ Egypt, Sudan]
In Memory of Lech Krzyzaniak
Editors: Karla Kroeper, Marek Chlodnicki, Michal Kobusiewicz
Poznan´ : Poznan´ Archaeological Museum, 2006.
Series: Studies in African archaeology (Poznan´, Poland), v. 9.
1061 pages : illustrations, maps

  • Proceedings of the International Symposium organized by the Poznan´ Archeological Museum, Institute of Archeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Science, Poznan´ Branch and International Comission of the Later Prehistory of Northeastern Africa held at the Poznan´ Archeological Museum, Juliy14th-18th 2003.

Site closed. The Internet Archive has archived the site. Argos was a peer-reviewed, limited area search engine covering the ancient and medieval worlds. "Quality is controlled by a system of hyperlinked internet indices which are managed by qualified professionals who serve as the Associate Editors of the project."  Searches retrieve many archeological web sites about the Sudan, Egypt, etc. Based at the Univ. of Evansville.*/

BBC Lost Kingdoms of Africa
"British art historian Dr Gus Casely-Hayford explores the pre-colonial history of some of Africa's most important kingdoms."
Series 1.
1. Nubia
2. Ethiopia
3. Great Zimbabwe
4. West Africa. Benin Plaques.  Benin art at the British Museum.

Cahiers de terrain de l'archéologue africaniste Raymond Mauny (1912-1994)
In French. On Mali. "Ce site présente les cahiers de terrain de l'archéologue africaniste Raymond Mauny (1912-1994) déposés à la Bibliothèque de recherches africaines."

Centro Studi Archeologia Africana
Based in Milan. Mainly in Italian. Some articles in English. Work in Togo, Mali, Niger and Eritrea, etc. Lists their research projects, publications, has photos, illustrations.

Christiansborg Archaeological Heritage Project, CAHP
In English, Ga, and Twi. 17th century Christiansborg Castle, today Osu Castle, was a site involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is now the Office of the President of Ghana. Archeological reports, videos, photos, bibliography. Funders/supporters include Ghana’s present and former Presidents, Stanford University, Hampshire College, the British High Commission in Accra, etc. Based in Osu, Accra, Ghana.

[Coulibaly] Jean-Baptiste Coulibaly. Archéologie en pays tusian (Burkina Faso) : vestiges anciens et actuels
de l’occupation humaine. Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I; Université Ouaga 1
Professeur Joseph Ki-Zerbo (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso), 2017. Français.
HAL Id: tel-01619650
Thèse pour l’obtention du grade de Docteur des universités
366 p.

David, Nicholas, et. al. "Ethnoarchaeology Bibliography"
On Nigeria, Cameroun. "Keyword Bibliography of Ethnoarchaeology and Related Topics" arranged alphabetically by author. Professor David teaches in the Dept. of Archaeology, Univ. of Calgary (Canada). His research interests include the archaeology of Africa and Europe.

Digital Library of the Middle East
Images from the Middle East and North Africa. Includes Mauritania and Sudan (Nubia) archaeological objects, jewelry, coins, historical documents, maps, political posters, etc. owned by libraries worldwide
Maintained by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Stanford University Libraries. [KF]

In French. Site of the Association pour la promotion du patrimoine culturel de Djenné. Includes a history of Djenné, a map and photographs of the tombs of saints, full text issues of their Bulletin, information on archeology work, traditional crafts. Based in Djenné, Mali. [KF]

Dotawo : a journal of Nubian studies
Open access journal. Examples of contents - Vol. 5, 2018 focuses on "Nubian women, both ancient and contemporary. Nubian women, whether they were queens or commoners." Vol. 3, 2016 covers Know-Hows and Techniques in Ancient Sudan.

Eastern African Archaeology Online
Covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, including Somaliland and greater East Africa and the Indian Ocean region (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles). A large directory of links to archaeology web sites.  [KF]

Fontes historiae nubiorum : textual sources for the history of the middle Nile region between the eighth century BC and the sixth century AD
Author(s): Eide, Tormod,; 1934- ; editor and others.
Bergen, Norway : University of Bergen, Dept. of Classics, 1994-2000
4 volumes online.  Includes Egypt, Kush, Nubia, Meroe, Ethiopia.
v. 1. From the eighth to the mid-fifth century BC 
v. 2. From the mid-fifth to the first century BC 
v. 3. From the first to the sixth century AD 
v. 4. Corrigenda and indices

Grzymski, Krzysztof
Brief descriptions of archaeologist Grzymski's field projects in Egypt and in Sudanese Nubia - Hambukol/Letti Basin (medieval Nubian town) and Meroe (the capital of Kush). On the site of the Royal Ontario Museum. Near Eastern and Asian Civilizations Department (NEAC). [KF]

Horn Heritage Digital Museum
"non-profit, apolitical organisation dedicated at preserving the cultural heritage of the Horn of Africa, with focus on the Somali speaking-region... created in 2011 by Dr Sada Mire, a renowned archaeologist....
Projects : 3D Scanning of Somaliland rock Art, Somali Heritage in International Collections, Somali Artifacts in Djibouti, Jaalelo The Garden of Eden in Somaliland, Aksum and Lalibela in Ethiopia under threat from war, Hargeisa (Somaliland).

Inagina, the Last House of Iron
Documentary film on metallurgy work by the Dogon blacksmiths of Mali. "a unique testimony of a thousand-year-old technology which has now disappeared"
UNESCO has a preview.
Review of the film by Els A. Baerends (access by Proquest database license), American Anthropologist; Oxford Vol. 102, Iss. 2, (Jun 2000): 356-357. DOI:10.1525/aa.2000.102.2.356
Documentary Educational Resources sells copies.

Internet African History Sourcebook - Paul Halsall
Has full-text sources for African history arranged by topics. Includes the Black Athena Debate, human origins, Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Islam in Africa, West African kingdoms, Great Zimbabwe, etc.. Maintained by Paul Halsall, Fordham University.

Journal of African Archaeology (Frankfurt)
In English and French. Published by Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt. Editorial office at J.-W. Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Began publication 2003; published twice a year.

Journal of Eastern African Studies
Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Published by Routledge. Articles in the humanities and social sciences, especially archaeology, history, linguistics and anthropology of Eastern Africa. Encourages interdisciplinary analysis.

Library of Congress - A Momentous One Hundred Years: Ancient Ethiopia, 520-620 A.D.
Web video from the U.S. Library of Congress. (March 22, 2012) - 51 minutes. Hailu Habtu discusses the critical century of 520-620 A.D. in Ethiopia.

Mali Interactive
Accounts of archaeological excavations and information on the people and culture of Jenn?. The project leaders include Profs. Rod and Susan McIntosh, archaeologists, from Rice University's Anthropology Dept. U.S. A goal is to save archaeological information from destruction by erosion. Jenn? is the earliest known urban settlement south of the Sahara and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photos, news, teaching resources, information on Mali and archaeology. Links to a historical geography unit for grade 6 on Timbuktu and the Niger River by Ginny White.

Managing Archaeological Resources : global context, national programs, local actions
edited by Francis P. McManamon, Andrew Stout, and Jodi A. Barnes.
Walnut Creek, Calif. : Left Coast ; London : Eurospan [distributor], 2010.
Access requires a license. 1 online resource (299 pages).
Series: One world archaeology ; 58.
Chapter 2: Rethinking Cultural Resources Management: A Culturist and Generic Model for Development [about Africa in general, Nigeria]
Chapter 4: Archaeology and Donor Aid in the ‘Developing World’: The Case for Local Heritage in Zimbabwe

McGregor Museum (Kimberley, South Africa)
"...has departments actively engaged in research in history, oral history, archaeology and rock art, with a principal focus on the Northern Cape Province, South Africa." Is strong in "Military History, focussing on the Anglo-Boer War." Has an EnviroZone covering the natural environment of the Northern Cape and an exhibition on the human history of the Northern Cape from three million years ago, and departments of botany and zoology. Their library holds "unpublished diaries of ordinary citizens reflecting life during the Siege of Kimberley (October 1899-February 1900)." Its walking tour lists historical events in Kimberley. Has links to other museums in Kimberley.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • A huge resource, many photographs of art work.
  • Timeline of Art History - Africa!?geo=af
  • Chronology- Africa!?geo=af
  • Essays - Africa such as African Christianity in Ethiopia.!?geo=af
  • Portraits of African Leadership: Living Rulers. Includes 
    • Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History: Ana Nzinga, Queen of Ndongo.”
      Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History: Dona Beatriz, Kongo Prophet.”
      Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History: Idia, First Queen Mother of Benin.”
      Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History, 17th–19th Century.”
      Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History, 17th–19th Century.”

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Africa and Byzantium.
"Art history has long emphasized the glories of the Byzantine Empire (circa 330–1453), but less known are the profound artistic contributions of North Africa, Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, and other powerful African kingdoms..."

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Art and Oracle
Exhibition of "African artifacts created to communicate with ancestors, spirits, and gods in order to obtain insight into human quandaries. "Essay by Professor John Pemberton III, scholar of African religions, explores five regional traditions and their divination practices. He has selected the Azande, Luba and Songye, Yaka, Yoruba, and Malagasy models of divination. Extensive commentary on figures illustrated. Detailed maps showing locations of the cultures. Bibliography. [KF]

Essays: Divination in Sub-Saharan Africa, by John Pemberton III; Cultural Artifacts and the Oracular Trance States of the Sangoma in South Africa by Ingo Lambrecht; Depicting the Servants of the Spirits, by Yvonne Winters; Initiation of a Pondo Diviner (Igqira), by Anitra Nettleton;

Miller, D.E. & Maggs, T. 1994. Pre-colonial metalworking in Africa, especially southern Africa: a bibliography:1-67. Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town (African Studies Library).
"...concentrates on southern Africa, that is, Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. It is incomplete and may have some inappropriate entries." Journal articles, books.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Art of Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and the Near East
Nubian Art. The Museum possesses the largest and most important collection of Nubian art outside of Khartoum.

New York Public Library
Historical photographs include

The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago - Egypt and Sudan Projects and Photographic Archives
Nubia Salvage Project. The Institute participated in the 1960s UNESCO effort to rescue archaeological sites from the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam. Other Nubia Expeditions.

Oxford University. Pitt Rivers Museum - Recovering the Material and Visual Cultures of the Southern Sudan: A Museological Resource
"catalogue of the collections from Southern Sudan held at the Pitt Rivers Museum, the University of Oxford's museum of anthropology and world archaeology." 1300 artefacts and 5000 photographs from Southern Sudan.

Parsons, Neil - History of Botswana
Authoritative historical essays, by Professor Parsons of the University of Botswana, History Department. Has a chapter on archaeology. [KF]

Pradines, Stephane - Ceramique en pays sereer et tumulus senegambiens / The pottery of the Sereer and the tumuli of Senegambia
Paper, in French, from the e-journal, Internet Archaeology, No. 3, Autumn 1997. There is an abstract in English.

SFDAS, Section Francaise de la direction des antiquites du Soudan [French Archaeological Unit in the Sudan]
In French. Online books, journals, conference proceedings. Based in Khartoum.

Serials include:

  • Dotawo : a journal of Nubian studies.
  • Dotawo No. 3
  • Also online Vol. 1-5, 2014-2018 from Fairfield University.; DiMenna-Nyselius Library. ; Punctum Books.
  • Archéologie du Nil moyen
  • In French and English. Annual. 1986-2006 10 volumes
  • Published by Association pour la promotion de l'archéologie nilotique (Lille, France)
  • Lille, France : F. Geus,  Vol. 1 (1986)-; Ceased with v. 10.
  • "Fouilles d'Oxford en Nubie" "Oxford Excavations in Nubia" in Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Liverpool, Institute of Archaeology
  • Vols. 8-15, 1921-1928
  • Oxford University organized a series of expeditions to southern Egypt and Sudan. The expeditions occurred from 1910 to 1936.
  • MNL. Meroitic newsletter.
  • Paris: École pratique des hautes études (France).; Section des sciences religieuses. ; Centre de recherches archéologiques.
  • In French. No. 1-30, 1968-2003

Books include:

  • Excavations at Kerma ...
  • Author(s): Reisner, George Andrew, 1867-1942.
  • Corp Author(s): Joint Egyptian Expedition of Harvard University and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Publication: Cambridge, Mass., Peabody Museum of Harvard University, 1923.
  • 2 volumes illustrations, 78 plates, XXVI folded plans 28 cm.
  • Language: English
  • Series: Harvard African studies,; vol. 5-6
  • The royal tombs of Ballana and Qustul
  • Author(s): Emery, Walter B. 1903-1971. (Walter Bryan), with chapters by L. P. Kirwan.
  • Egypt.; Maṣlaḥat al-Āthār. ; Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France)
  • Publication: Cairo: Government Press, Boulâq, 1938.
  • illustrations, plates, folded maps ; 35 cm
  • Contents: V. 1. Text -- v. 2. Plates.
  • Note(s): At head of title: Service des antiquités de l'Égypte. Mission archéologique de Nubie, 1929-1934.
  • Parts 1-10. Plates 1-3.
  • Buhen
  • Author(s): Randall-MacIver, David, 1873-1945.
  • Woolley, Leonard,; 1880-1960, ; author.
  • Philadelphia, University Museum, 1911
  • 2 volumes color frontispiece, illustrations (plans) 96 plates, plans A-G (2 folded) 28 cm.
  • Buhen is the site of one of the fortresses established in Nubia by the pharaohs to defend their southern border and control the trade routes that passed through the Nile from Sudan.

Society of Africanist Archaeologists
An international "organization of archaeologists, researchers from associated disciplines and others who share an interest in African archaeology and African societies." Members have access to articles from their bulletin, Nyame Akuma, enhanced access to back issues of the bulletin, and a discussion forum, links to archaeology web sites. [KF]

Society of Africanist Archaeologists
The old site has been archived by the Internet Archive. Has the table of contents of their journal, Nyame Akuma, from No. 1, 1972, information on their conferences, websites of members, etc.

South Africa Meteorite Crater, the Vredefort Dome - UNESCO World Heritage Site
The oldest and largest meteorite crater found on earth, the Vredefort Dome, in South Africa was added in 2005 to a list of protected World Heritage sites by the United Nations. 20 page Evaluation in PDF. See also BBC July 15, 2005 report. [KF]

Sudan Archaeological Research Society
"Founded in 1991...provides a focus for anyone interested in the archaeology of the Sudan." The Society's Archive "contains the original records from the Society's survey and excavation projects, currently those at Gabati, in the Northern Dongola Reach, at Kawa, at Jebel Umm Rowag and between Amri and Kirbekan above the Fourth Cataract. The archives for Soba East and the Wadi Halfa to Kerma Railway are also included." Links to related sites. [KF]

Sudan Archaeological Society in Berlin/ Die Sudan-archaologische Gesellschaft zu Berlin E.V.
Based at Humboldt-Universitat, describes their projects, has the table of contents of its bulletin, photographs of wall paintings, temples, links to other Sudan archaeology web sites, and an annotated bibliography of publications on the Sudan.

Sungbo's Eredo, Africa's Largest Single Monument
A 10th century 100 mile long wall and moat, Sungbo's Eredo, was one of the largest monuments in sub-Saharan Africa. It was erected around a Yoruba kingdom.

Torres, Leida I - "The Black Presence in Antiquity: a Selected Bibliography" by Leida I. Torres and Andrea Only
Bibliography of books, chapters in books, journal articles from Howard University's, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.  12 pages.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Africa
"The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage... agreement, signed to date by more than 150 States Parties, was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. Its primary mission is to define and conserve the world's heritage, by drawing up a list of sites whose outstanding values should be preserved for all humanity and to ensure their protection through a closer co-operation among nations."
Africa sites are in Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo-Kinshasa, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia,  Zimbabwe.

United States. GovInfo
Search on Nigeria. Examples of documents -

University of  Botswana. History Department. Subject Index and Checklist of History and Archaeology Dissertations and Research Essays Submitted at the University of Botswana, 1976-1998
Lists four M.A. dissertations and 222 B.A. research essays.

University of Cape Town. Department of Archaeology
Has sections on the Historical Archaeology Laboratory, the Materials Laboratory, the Stable Light Isotope Laboratory.

University of Cape Town. Institutional Repositories
Use the search to find research on archaeology.

University of Khartoum. Digital Repository
Research from the University - journal articles, theses, historical documents, etc. Examples below.

  • find publications from departments such as the Dept. of Archaeology

University of the Witwatersrand. Institutional Repository
Has research papers on archaeology.

Vansina, Jan - "Historians, Are Archeologists Your Siblings?"
A subscription to History in Africa required to read. "All historians, whatever their disciplinary affiliation, can therefore learn a great deal from the practice of archeologists about the perils and the successes of reconstructing history from a varied lot of sources. Hence the contribution of archeology to the history of Africa is not limited to the discovery of new and complementary sources to be used by others, but goes to the very heart of the historical enterprise."  Article from History in Africa, 22 [1995], 369-408.