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Middle to late holocene paleoclimatic change and the early Bantu expansion in the rain forests of Western Central Africa

(2015) CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY. 56(3). p.354-384
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KONGOKING (Political centralization, economic integration and language evolution in Central Africa: An interdisciplinary approach to the early history of the Kongo kingdom.)
Abstract
This article reviews evidence from biogeography, palynology, geology, historical linguistics, and archaeology and presents a new synthesis of the paleoclimatic context in which the early Bantu expansion took place. Paleoenvironmental data indicate that a climate crisis affected the Central African forest block during the Holocene, first on its periphery around 4000 BP and later at its core around 2500 BP.We argue here that both phases had an impact on the Bantu expansion but in different ways. The climate-induced extension of savannas in the Sanaga-Mbam confluence area around 4000–3500 BP facilitated the settlement of early Bantu-speech communities in the region of Yaoundé but did not lead to a large-scale geographic expansion of Bantu-speaking village communities in Central Africa. An extensive and rapid expansion of Bantu speech communities, along with the dispersal of cereal cultivation and metallurgy, occurred only when the core of the Central African forest block was affected around 2500 BP. We claim that the Sangha River interval in particular constituted an important corridor of Bantu expansion. With this interdisciplinary review, we substantially deepen and revise earlier hypotheses linking the Bantu expansion with climate-induced forest openings around 3000 BP.
Keywords
Central Africa, historical linguistics, climate change, rainforest, Bantu Expansion, phylogenetic language classification, vegetation change, biogeography, language dispersal, migration, palynology, archaeology

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Chicago
Bostoen, Koen, Bernard-Olivier Clist, Charles Doumenge, Rebecca Grollemund, Jean-Marie Hombert, Joseph Koni Muluwa, and Jean Maley. 2015. “Middle to Late Holocene Paleoclimatic Change and the Early Bantu Expansion in the Rain Forests of Western Central Africa.” Current Anthropology 56 (3): 354–384.
APA
Bostoen, K., Clist, B.-O., Doumenge, C., Grollemund, R., Hombert, J.-M., Koni Muluwa, J., & Maley, J. (2015). Middle to late holocene paleoclimatic change and the early Bantu expansion in the rain forests of Western Central Africa. CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY, 56(3), 354–384.
Vancouver
1.
Bostoen K, Clist B-O, Doumenge C, Grollemund R, Hombert J-M, Koni Muluwa J, et al. Middle to late holocene paleoclimatic change and the early Bantu expansion in the rain forests of Western Central Africa. CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY. 2015;56(3):354–84.
MLA
Bostoen, Koen, Bernard-Olivier Clist, Charles Doumenge, et al. “Middle to Late Holocene Paleoclimatic Change and the Early Bantu Expansion in the Rain Forests of Western Central Africa.” CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 56.3 (2015): 354–384. Print.
@article{6835722,
  abstract     = {This article reviews evidence from biogeography, palynology, geology, historical linguistics, and archaeology and presents a new synthesis of the paleoclimatic context in which the early Bantu expansion took place. Paleoenvironmental data indicate that a climate crisis affected the Central African forest block during the Holocene, first on its periphery around 4000 BP and later at its core around 2500 BP.We argue here that both phases had an impact on the Bantu expansion but in different ways. The climate-induced extension of savannas in the Sanaga-Mbam confluence area around 4000--3500 BP facilitated the settlement of early Bantu-speech communities in the region of Yaound{\'e} but did not lead to a large-scale geographic expansion of Bantu-speaking village communities in Central Africa. An extensive and rapid expansion of Bantu speech communities, along with the dispersal of cereal cultivation and metallurgy, occurred only when the core of the Central African forest block was affected around 2500 BP. We claim that the Sangha River interval in particular constituted an important corridor of Bantu expansion. With this interdisciplinary review, we substantially deepen and revise earlier hypotheses linking the Bantu expansion with climate-induced forest openings around 3000 BP.},
  author       = {Bostoen, Koen and Clist, Bernard-Olivier and Doumenge, Charles and Grollemund, Rebecca and Hombert, Jean-Marie and Koni Muluwa, Joseph and Maley, Jean},
  issn         = {0011-3204},
  journal      = {CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY},
  keyword      = {Central Africa,historical linguistics,climate change,rainforest,Bantu Expansion,phylogenetic language classification,vegetation change,biogeography,language dispersal,migration,palynology,archaeology},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {354--384},
  title        = {Middle to late holocene paleoclimatic change and the early Bantu expansion in the rain forests of Western Central Africa},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/681436},
  volume       = {56},
  year         = {2015},
}

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