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African Neolithic Part 1: Amending Common Misunderstandings

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Denis Noble

JP Rushton

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L:inda Gottfredson

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One of the weaknesses, in my opinion, to HBD is the focus on the Paleolithic and modern eras while glossing over the major developments in between. For instance, the links made between Paleolithic Western Europe’s Cromagnon Art and Modern Western Europe’s prowess (note the geographical/genetic discontinuity there for those actually informative on such matters).

Africa, having a worst archaeological record due to ideological histories and modern problems, leaves it rather vulnerable to reliance on outdated sources already discussed before on this blog. This lack of mention however isn’t strict.

Eventually updated material will be presented by a future outline of Neolithic to Middle Ages development in West Africa.

A recent example of an erroneous comparison would be in Heiner Rindermann’s Cogntivie Capitalism, pages 129-130. He makes multiple claims on precolonial African development to explained prolonged investment in magical thinking.

  • Metallurgy not developed independently.
  • No wheel.
  • Dinka did not properly used cattle due to large, uneaten, portions left castrated.
  • No domesticated animals of indigenous origin despite Europeans animals being just as dangerous, contra Diamond (lists African dogs, cats, antelope, gazelle, and Zebras as potential specimens, mentions European Foxes as an example of a “dangerous” animal to be recently domesticated along with African Antelopes in the Ukraine.
  • A late, diffused, Neolithic Revolution 7000 years following that of the Middle East.
  • Less complex Middle Age Structure.
  • Less complex Cave structures.

Now, technically, much of this falls outside of what would be considered “neolithic”, even in the case of Africa. However, understanding the context of Neolithic development in Africa provides context to each of these points and periods of time by virtue of causality. Thus, they will be responded by archaeological sequence.

Dog domestication, Foxes, and human interaction.

The domestication of dogs occurred when Eurasian Hunter-Gathers intensified megafauna hunting, attracting less aggressive wild dogs to tame around 23k-25k ago. Rindermann’s mention of the fox experiment replicates this idea. Domestication isn’t a matter of breaking the most difficult of animals, it’s using the easiest ones to your advantage.

In this same scope, this needs to be compared to Africa’s case. In regards to behavior they are rarely solitary, so attracting lone individuals is already impractical. The species likewise developed under a different level of competition.

They were probably under as much competition from these predators as the ancestral African wild dogs were under from the guild of super predators on their continent.

What was different, though, is the ancestral wolves never evolved in an enviroment which scavenging from various human species was a constant threat, so they could develop behaviors towards humans that were not always characterized by extreme caution and fear.

Europe in particular shows that carnivore density was lower, and thus advantageous to hominids.

Consequently, the first Homo populations that arrived in Europe at the end of the late Early Pleistocene found mammal communities consisting of a low number of prey species, which accounted for a moderate herbivore biomass, as well as a diverse but not very abundant carnivore guild. This relatively low carnivoran density implies that the hominin-carnivore encounter rate was lower in the European ecosystems than in the coeval East African environments, suggesting that an opportunistic omnivorous hominin would have benefited from a reduced interference from the carnivore guild.

This would be a pattern based off of megafaunal extinction data.

The first hints of abnormal rates of megafaunal loss appear earlier, in the Early Pleistocene in Africa around 1 Mya, where there was a pronounced reduction in African proboscidean diversity (11) and the loss of several carnivore lineages, including sabertooth cats (34), which continued to flourish on other continents. Their extirpation in Africa is likely related to Homo erectus evolution into the carnivore niche space (3435), with increased use of fire and an increased component of meat in human diets, possibly associated with the metabolic demands of expanding brain size (36). Although remarkable, these early megafauna extinctions were moderate in strength and speed relative to later extinctions experienced on all other continents and islands, probably because of a longer history in Africa and southern Eurasia of gradual hominid coevolution with other animals.

This fundamental difference in adaptation to human presence and subsequent response is obviously a major detail in in-situ animal domestication.

Another example would be the failure of even colonialists to tame the Zebra.

Of course, this alone may not be good enough. One can nonetheless cite the tame-able Belgian Congo forest Elephant, or Eland. Therefore we can just ignore regurgitating Diamond.

This will just lead me to my next point. That is, what’s the pay-off?

Pastoralism and Utility

A decent test to understand what fauna in Africa can be utilized would the “experiments” of Ancient Egyptians, who are seen as the Eurasian “exception” to African civilization. Hyenas, and antelope from what I’ve, were kept under custody but overtime didn’t resulted in selected traits. The only domesticated animal in this region would be Donkeys, closer relatives to Zebras.

This brings to light another perspective to the Russian Fox experiments, that is, why have pet foxes not been a trend for Eurasians prior to the 20th century? It can be assumed then that attempts of animals domestication simply where not worth investment in the wake of already domesticated animals, even if one grew up in a society/genetic culture at this time that harnessed the skills.

For instance, a slow herd of Eland can be huddled and domesticated but will it pay off compared to the gains from investing into adapting diffused animals into a new environment? (This will be expanded upon as well into the future).

Elephants are nice for large colonial projects, but unique herding discouraging local diseases that also disrupts population density again effects the utility of large bodied animals. Investing in agriculture and iron proved more successful.

Cats actually domesticated themselves and lacked any real utility prior to feasting on urban pests. In Africa, with highly mobile groups as will be explained later, investment in cats weren’t going to change much. Wild Guineafowl, however, were useful to tame in West Africa and use to eat insects.

As can be seen here, Pastoralism is roughly as old in Africa diffused from the Middle East as compared to Europe. Both lacked independently raised species prior to it and making few innovations in regard to in situ beasts beyond the foundation. (Advancement in plant management preceding developed agriculture, a sort of skill that would parallel dog domestication for husbandry, will be discussed in a future article).

And given how advanced Mesoamericans became without draft animals, as mentioned before, their importance seems to be overplayed from a pure “indigenous” perspective. The role in invention itself ought be questioned as well in what we can actually infer.

Borrowed, so what?

In a thought experiment, lets consider some key details in diffusion. The invention of Animal Domestication or Metallurgy is by no means something to be glossed over as an independent invention. Over-fixating on this however in turn glosses over some other details on successful diffusion.

Why would a presumably lower apt population adopt a cognitively demanding skill, reorient it’s way of society around it, without attributing this change to an internal change of character compared to before? Living in a new type of economy system as a trend it undoubtedly bound to result in a new population in regards to using cognition to exploit resources. This would require contributions to their own to the process.

This applies regards to African Domesticated breeds,

Viewing domestication as an invention also produces a profound lack of curiosity about evolutionary changes in domestic species after their documented first appearances. [……] African domesticates, whether or not from foreign ancestors, have adapted to disease and forage challenges throughout their ranges, reflecting local selective pressures under human management. Adaptations include dwarfing and an associated increase in fecundity, tick resistance, and resistance to the most deleterious effects of several mortal infectious diseases. While the genetics of these traits are not yet fully explored, they reflect the animal side of the close co-evolution between humans and domestic animals in Africa. To fixate upon whether or not cattle were independently domesticated from wild African ancestors, or to dismiss chickens’ swift spread through diverse African environments because they were of Asian origin, ignores the more relevant question of how domestic species adapted to the demands of African environments, and how African people integrated them into their lives.

The same can be said for Metallurgy,

We do not yet know
whether the seventh/sixth century Phoenician smelt-
ing furnace from Toscanos, Spain (illustrated by
Niemeyer in MA, p.87, Figure 3) is typical, but it is
clearly very different from the oldest known iron smelt-
ing technology in sub-Saharan Africa. Almost all pub-
lished iron smelting furnaces of the first millennium cal
BC from Rwanda/Burundi, Buhaya, Nigeria, Niger,
Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic and Ga-
bon are slag-pit furnaces, which are so far unknown
from this or earlier periods in the Middle East or North
Africa. Early Phoenician tuyères, which have square
profiles enclosing two parallel (early) or converging
(later) narrow bores are also quite unlike those de-
scribed for early sites in sub-Saharan Africa, which are
cylindrical with a single and larger bore.
African ironworkers adapted bloomery furnaces
to an extraordinary range of iron ores, some of which
cannot be used by modern blast furnaces. In both
northern South Africa (Killick & Miller 2014)andin
the Pare mountains of northern Tanzania (Louise Iles
pers. comm., 2013) magnetite-ilmenite ores contain-
ing up to 25 per cent TiO2(by mass) were smelted.
The upper limit for TiO2in iron ore for modern
blast furnaces is only 2 per cent by mass (McGan-
non 1971). High-titanium iron ores can be smelted
in bloomery furnaces because these operate at lower
temperatures and have less-reducing furnace atmo-
spheres than blast furnaces. In the blast furnace tita-
nium oxide is partially reduced and makes the slag
viscous and hard to drain, but in bloomery furnaces
it is not reduced and combines with iron and silicon
oxide to make a fluid slag (Killick & Miller 2014). Blast
furnace operators also avoid ores containing more
than a few tenths of a percent of phosphorus or ar-
senic, because when these elements are dissolved in
the molten iron, they segregate to grain boundaries on
crystallization, making the solid iron brittle on impact.
McIntosh goes over how the transition from Neolithic to Iron Age transformed African stratification and launched Middle Ages indigenous progress. This will undoubtedly be retouched in future works.
With all of this said, what gave the impression of stagnation?
Inefficient Dinka?
Rindermann cites Baker secondarily on the nature of Dinka cattle castration, that up to a third are castrated just to “look good and fat”. Multiple sources complicates this simplistic image.
Bulls (and rams) are often, but not necessarily, castrated at a
fairly advanced age, probably in part to allow the conformation and characteristics of the animal to become evident before
the decision is made. A castrated steer is called muor buoc, an
entire bull thon (men in general are likened to muor which are
usually handsome animals greatly admired on that account; an
unusually brave, strong or successful man may be called thon,
that is, “bull with testicles”). Dinka do not keep an excess of
thon, usually one per 10 to 40 cows. Stated reasons for the
castration of others are for important esthetic and cultural
reasons, to reduce fighting, for easier control, and to prevent
indiscriminant or repeat breeding of cows in heat (the latter
regarded as detrimental to pregnancy and accurate
genealogies).
Here, the ration is higher, but is not reduced singularly to aesthetic reasons.
Godfrey Leinhardt clarifies that the preferences isn’t indiscriminate, that the aesthetics is based on cattle fur configurations. And, contra to Baker’s quote, it is clarified that all cattle once dead are eaten for their meat regardless.
Francis Deng likewise estimates, based on the amount of Cattle they casual amass, that they are one of the Wealthiest in Africa by cattle count. Likewise, it distinguishes the purpose of personality oxen (of desired configuration) as a reflection of their intense investment into cattle, not neglect.
Neumann on Diffused Agriculture from the “North”?
That is, Katharina Neumann’s 2003 article on the “Late Emergence” of Agriculture. While she does review the data suggesting a late agricultural revolution, she doesn’t suggest anywhere that it was “likely” diffused from the north and rather explains it in terms in that the high mobility lifestyles of Hunter Gatherers and Pastoralists were supported better than a sedentary lifestyle due to the abundant but seasonally distributed wild plants.
She also mentioned the relative higher abundance in the Savanna over the Rainforests, which probably resulted in the continuous plant exploitation by pottery using HG from Ghana 10k ago.
Since then Neumann noted the differences between Africa and the Middle East. Not only did Pastoralism preceded agriculture, but so did pottery. Actual vessels were not seen in Europe until replacement by Middle Eastern Farmers, rather than local HG.

Since then, Pearl Millet, Rice, Yams, and Cowpeas have been confirmed to be indigenous crops to the area. This is against hypotheses of others. Multiple studies show late expansion southwards, thus likely linking them to Niger-Kongo speakers. Modern SSA genetics revealed farmer population expansion signals similar to that of Neolithic ancestry in Europeans to their own late date of agriculture in the region as well.

Renfrew

Made multiple remarks on Africa’s “exemplars”, trying to construct a sort of perpetual gap since the Paleolithic by citing Renfew’s  Neuroscience, evolution and the sapient paradox: the factuality of value and of the sacred. However, Renfrew doesn’t quite support the comparisons he made and approaches a whole different point.

The discovery of clearly intentional patterning on fragments of red ochre from the Blombos Cave (at ca 70 000 BP) is interesting when discussing the origins of symbolic expression. But it is entirely different in character, and very much simpler than the cave paintings and the small carved sculptures which accompany the Upper Palaeolithic of France and Spain (and further east in Europe) after 40 000 BP.[….]

It is important to remember that what is often termed cave art—the painted caves, the beautifully carved ‘Venus’ figurines—was during the Palaeolithic (i.e. the Pleistocene climatic period) effectively restricted to one developmental trajectory, localized in western Europe. It is true that there are just a few depictions of animals in Africa from that time, and in Australia also. But Pleistocene art was effectively restricted to Franco-Cantabria and its outliers.

It was not until towards the end of the Pleistocene period that, in several parts of the world, major changes are seen (but see  for a more nuanced view, placing more emphasis upon developments in the Late Palaeolithic). They are associated with the development of sedentism and then of agriculture and sometimes stock rearing. At the risk of falling into the familiar ‘revolutionary’ cliché, it may be appropriate to speak of the Sedentary Revolution (, ch. 7).[….] Although the details are different in each area, we see a kind of sedentary revolution taking place in western Asia, in southern China, in the Yellow River area of northern China, in Mesoamerica, and coastal Peru, in New Guinea, and in a different way in Japan ().

And just for context as to where Precolonial Africa stood, the best I can do short hand is economic growth gaps clearly being huddled between Western Countries and non-Western countries. That is, “Modern” differences in economic growth developed over the 20th century comparisons.
As for simply looking at development, the story seems to be the same at around 1500 A.D
 paints a picture of African development in 1500, both relative to the rest of the world and heterogeneity within the continent itself, using as his indicators population density, urbanization, technological advancement, and political development. Ignoring North Africa, which was generally part of the Mediterranean world, the highest levels of development by many indicators are found in Ethiopia and in the broad swathe of West African countries running from Cameroon and Nigeria eastward along the coast and the Niger river. In this latter region, the available measures show a level of development just below or sometimes equal to that in the belt of Eurasia running from Japan and China, through South Asia and the Middle East, into Europe. Depending on the index used, West Africa was above or below the level of development in the Northern Andes and Mexico. Much of the rest of Africa was at a significantly lower level of development, although still more advanced than the bulk of the Americas or Australia.
With all this said, China traditionally speaking wasn’t necessarily devoid of gruesome magical thinking as well by duration, despite traditionally being held at a higher traditional society.
Still, Rindermann has a point on the particular intensity and behavior overall for modern norms in Africa, yet it needs a stronger premise like actually tracking atmospheres of superstition.
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33 Comments

  1. George_s says:

    Another example would be the failure of even colonialists to tame the Zebra.

    Oh please this has been debunked long ago. Sub-Saharan Zebras were just as difficult to tame as Eurasian wild horses. The problem isn’t the animal itself, it’s just that the people didn’t make any domestication efforts.

    Alt-Hype addressed this thoroughly here, at 1:25:03 :

    Like

    • Phil78 says:

      Aside from the fact that I made another point on utility, I should clarify on what I meant by “failure”. See again though my argument of utility so I won;t be redundant.

      By failure I guess I should’ve meant lack of continued use. Faulk even said that compared to a horse, the Zebras were less efficient. Likewise, This was of course a limited phenomenon of Zebra domestication, shows that it wasn’t worth it.

      On the nature of Horses, well, Faulk seems to gloss over that.

      See the Evidence on the different Physiques of theoretical wild horses in the section above, not exactly like zebras.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestication_of_the_horse#Genetic_evidence

      The Genetic evidence shows that cooperative behavior was a key feature to select for, like Dogs probably were.

      Zebras are known to attack zooworkers often. By the Time Niger-Kongo people arrived to Zebra-infested areas, They either specialized in Farming or already had species they invested domestication in.

      Like

    • George_s says:

      I lack information on the exact quantity of stone, but like I said, obviously mud/wood was a better pick given their lifestyle.

      Ok, so the idea that they used those materials because stone wasn’t widely available can be dismissed.

      If you acknowledge Zimbabwe as Shona-built, then whether or not SSa have incentives to use stones is not much of discussion.

      Zimbabwe was the exception that proves the rule, and for the 11th century it’s a very primitive structure because much more advanced stone structures were already erected 2 millenniums before it. It’s just a large drystone wall with a conical pile with no openings or internal spaces. Compare Great Zimbabwe to e.g. Su Nuraxi. Both stone structures, but one is a large enclosure while the latter is a conglomerate of towers with internal vaults, chambers, multiple floors, tholoi, covered passages,etc., and it predates the other by 2-3 thousand years.

      Also see the Sandstone settlements of Dhar Tichitt and Tichitt Walata, tied to Mande people.

      Also primitive dry stone enclosures. And btw do not confuse Berber-built Ksours from Medieval Mauritania to the actual Neolithic enclosures of Dhar Tichitt

      Berber Ksours :
      https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/750

      Neolithic Dhar Tichitt attributed to the Mande :
      https://journals.openedition.org/nda/1584

      It’s interesting to note how itinerant Berber traders built more impressive stone architecture with their Ksours in Mauritania than Black Sahelians, in the exact same climate. It’s also interesting to note that the Berbers aren’t Negroid, but Caucasoid of a Mediterranean type. All of that fits nicely in a race realist paradigm

      You can’t use the excuse of non-permanent settling because those Berber traders built those trading outposts for nomadic traders like the Tuaregs, and you can’t use the excuse of ecology because those are literally in the Sahara, even harsher than the Sahel.

      Shifting Cultivation was done due to poor soils, again, I referred to Nicholas Wade. You can find more info on the Thin topsoils of the Savanna on the web.
      Says here, just a single example, that the soil is quickly deplenished if over done, thus requiring shifting cultivation.
      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6123/9f9b57e164dfbd35b3723319e70ff74a7cb4.pdf

      We can refer to colonialism and how colonial authorities didn’t have any problem with those “thin topsoils” when they decided to farm on the exact same soils Africans have been farming for centuries. For example, farmers in South Africa or Zimbabwe managed to use intensive agricultural practice in a way much more efficient than the natives did, even though the “thin topsoil” problem existed there too. They didn’t have to resort to primitive shifting cultivation methods. Why European colonialist happen to magically find ways to cope with the ecology of Africa to then practice intensive cultivation, and manage to figure it out in a few seconds, needs to be explained.

      Also, all the places in your the pdf of maps that you just shared that are in blue(p. 7) could have developed intensive agricultural techniques, especially those around the Niger River or the coastal wetlands of Senegambia. Yet they didn’t, why? And don’t tell me that they didn’t have the adequate crops, they even had their own species of rice.

      I’m talking about this pdf btw :
      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6123/9f9b57e164dfbd35b3723319e70ff74a7cb4.pdf

      This is still a problem in Modern Africa. This isn’t surprising given how it is just below a desert that is progressively getting larger. Intensification wasn’t an option. Eastern Africa did intensify because it had better soils.

      There are tons of things that ones can do to deal with this problem in a more efficient way than using primitive shifting cultivation. Even the natives of the Amazon managed to solve this problem with Amazonian dark earth.

      And who are you referring to by “Eastern Africa”? There is North East Africa that is mostly inhabited by Caucasoid populations and neighboring Nilotes, and there is South-Eastern Africa that is mostly inhabited by Bantu invaders. North East Africa developed much more than the rest of Africa for various reasons, not just geological or ecological. It also has to do with their distinct genetics.

      See the map here on ecological differences.
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306401173_Production_Systems_in_Pre-colonial_Africa
      https://journals.openedition.org/poldev/78

      On Ethiopia.

      Ethiopians are distinct from the Negroid population of West, Central and Southern Africa. This is why they are an exception in the first place, not just because of their ecology. The fact that they developed more complex societies fits nicely in the race realist paradigm considering their very high score of Caucasoid ancestry.

      And then again, Ethiopia wasn’t the only exception in it ecology. Look at the page 6 of your pdf : https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6123/9f9b57e164dfbd35b3723319e70ff74a7cb4.pdf

      What do we see on the bottom? “Intensive land use in central Rwanda where many tea and coffee plantations can be found”. So it seems that intensive agricultural methods based on terraces could have been used in other places of Africa that weren’t Ethiopia, even in West Africa, but oddly enough, weren’t.

      MesoAmericans basically stayed in Antiquity level development prior to Europeans. They were likewise described as “Savage” despite their technology, see RR’s recent article .

      Then sub-Saharan Africans were bellow antiquity level development, because Mesoamerican were more advanced than them in many fields, except when it comes to metallurgy, though they were still proficient.

      Also, history isn’t linear. Those are just distinct paths.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “Ok, so the idea that they used those materials because stone wasn’t widely available can be dismissed.”

      That was never my argument to begin with. Mine was simply commonality of alternatives and their lifestyle.

      If you acknowledge Zimbabwe as Shona-built, then whether or not SSa have incentives to use stones is not much of discussion.

      “Zimbabwe was the exception that proves the rule, and for the 11th century it’s a very primitive structure because much more advanced stone structures were already erected 2 millenniums before it. It’s just a large drystone wall with a conical pile with no openings or internal spaces. Compare Great Zimbabwe to e.g. Su Nuraxi. Both stone structures, but one is a large enclosure while the latter is a conglomerate of towers with internal vaults, chambers, multiple floors, tholoi, covered passages,etc., and it predates the other by 2-3 thousand years.

      https://s2.desu-usergeneratedcontent.xyz/his/image/1558/31/1558317859149.png

      My argument wasn’t regarding the complexity of the structure, it was regarding whether or not African could use stone.

      Likewise other ruins exists in SE Africa connected to it, so focusing on zimbabwe alone doesn’t tell us much.

      See Khami or Thumela. Even if they aren’t Complex, that is to be expected given differences in population size, history in the area, and experience with Stone Masonry.

      “Also primitive dry stone enclosures. And btw do not confuse Berber-built Ksours from Medieval Mauritania to the actual Neolithic enclosures of Dhar Tichitt

      Berber Ksours :
      https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/750

      Neolithic Dhar Tichitt attributed to the Mande :
      https://journals.openedition.org/nda/1584

      It’s interesting to note how itinerant Berber traders built more impressive stone architecture with their Ksours in Mauritania than Black Sahelians, in the exact same climate. It’s also interesting to note that the Berbers aren’t Negroid, but Caucasoid of a Mediterranean type. All of that fits nicely in a race realist paradigm”

      ….You’re comparing Architecture from two different time periods. If you don’t see how that is fallacious, that’s on you.

      The areas views show how large the cite actually is.

      https://historum.com/threads/any-actual-photos-of-the-tichitt-wallata-complex.139505/

      Likewise it was a Agro-Pastoral town, Ksours was a trading town. Therefore they can’t be structurally compared based on utility.

      In 110 B.C, they build this out of Mudbrick in Morocco.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moroccan_architecture#History

      Mind you this was already after trade

      Hardly much better than another Town around the same time, Djenne Jeno, with it’s Sudano Sahelian architecture, and grew with trade long after.

      http://www.antiquityofman.com/Complex_WA_EA.html

      “You can’t use the excuse of non-permanent settling because those Berber traders built those trading outposts for nomadic traders like the Tuaregs, and you can’t use the excuse of ecology because those are literally in the Sahara, even harsher than the Sahel.”

      Yes, Trade cities. Not subsistence.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouadane

      Shifting Cultivation was done due to poor soils, again, I referred to Nicholas Wade. You can find more info on the Thin topsoils of the Savanna on the web.
      Says here, just a single example, that the soil is quickly deplenished if over done, thus requiring shifting cultivation.
      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6123/9f9b57e164dfbd35b3723319e70ff74a7cb4.pdf

      “We can refer to colonialism and how colonial authorities didn’t have any problem with those “thin topsoils” when they decided to farm on the exact same soils Africans have been farming for centuries. For example, farmers in South Africa or Zimbabwe managed to use intensive agricultural practice in a way much more efficient than the natives did, even though the “thin topsoil” problem existed there too. They didn’t have to resort to primitive shifting cultivation methods. Why European colonialist happen to magically find ways to cope with the ecology of Africa to then practice intensive cultivation, and manage to figure it out in a few seconds, needs to be explained.”

      You are comparing commercial farming to subsistence farming. South And Zimbabwe’s Africa’s fertile land was a small section of the Larger Bulk, and it is currently being exhausted. The economic boost was short-termed and resulted in Modern soil erosion. During Apartheid, the era of commercial farming, it was hardly even brought up.

      http://www.conservationandsociety.org/article.asp?issn=0972-4923;year=2006;volume=4;issue=4;spage=541;epage=561;aulast=Kwashirai

      http://www.environmentandsociety.org/sites/default/files/key_docs/driver-5-1.pdf

      “Also, all the places in your the pdf of maps that you just shared that are in blue(p. 7) could have developed intensive agricultural techniques, especially those around the Niger River or the coastal wetlands of Senegambia. Yet they didn’t, why? And don’t tell me that they didn’t have the adequate crops, they even had their own species of rice.

      I’m talking about this pdf btw :
      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6123/9f9b57e164dfbd35b3723319e70ff74a7cb4.pdf

      So you are aware of their rice. Even on Wikipedia, it mentions that the rice was selected for resistance against poor conditions over high yields.

      The area, like other West African places, improved upon trade with others due to low agricultural activity. See page 213

      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/ehr.12697

      This is still a problem in Modern Africa. This isn’t surprising given how it is just below a desert that is progressively getting larger. Intensification wasn’t an option. Eastern Africa did intensify because it had better soils.

      “There are tons of things that ones can do to deal with this problem in a more efficient way than using primitive shifting cultivation. Even the natives of the Amazon managed to solve this problem with Amazonian dark earth.”

      So did Africans. The process is directly compared to the Amazonian one you speak of.

      https://steps-centre.org/wp-content/uploads/ADEcase.pdf

      “And who are you referring to by “Eastern Africa”? There is North East Africa that is mostly inhabited by Caucasoid populations and neighboring Nilotes, and there is South-Eastern Africa that is mostly inhabited by Bantu invaders. North East Africa developed much more than the rest of Africa for various reasons, not just geological or ecological. It also has to do with their distinct genetics.

      See the map here on ecological differences.
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306401173_Production_Systems_in_Pre-colonial_Africa
      https://journals.openedition.org/poldev/78

      I was pretty unambiguous when I used cited material that distinguishes the regions in terms of economics, as both my map and quoted section showed differences in geographic fertility.

      “Ethiopians are distinct from the Negroid population of West, Central and Southern Africa. This is why they are an exception in the first place, not just because of their ecology. The fact that they developed more complex societies fits nicely in the race realist paradigm considering their very high score of Caucasoid ancestry.

      And then again, Ethiopia wasn’t the only exception in it ecology. Look at the page 6 of your pdf : https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6123/9f9b57e164dfbd35b3723319e70ff74a7cb4.pdf

      What do we see on the bottom? “Intensive land use in central Rwanda where many tea and coffee plantations can be found”. So it seems that intensive agricultural methods based on terraces could have been used in other places of Africa that weren’t Ethiopia, even in West Africa, but oddly enough, weren’t.”

      Are you Joking?

      1. The map clearly shows the region that I was talking about in Ethiopia.
      2. The fact that Rwandans also intensified there just proves my point. These Nilotic/Bantus, mind you, were far more recent to the area than Ethiopians. Therefore that still leaves comparison complicated based on how much opportunity in economics between the two.

      3. It proves noting in you court on West Africa, was it reasserts my point that West Africa is Dearth in that regard. In response of areas of South Africa, see here.

      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00672709609511455?journalCode=raza20

      And West Africa.

      https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:332120/FULLTEXT01.pdf

      1. What hurts the “race realist” perspective is how that Caucasoid DNA doesn’t help in political Stability.

      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Ethiopia/wb_political_stability/

      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Ghana/wb_political_stability/

      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Nigeria/wb_political_stability/

      Ethiopia is only so much better than Nigeria, which hold a quarter of Africa’s population alone. And there’s hardly a positive association by aid.

      In Human Development, it’s outdone by various Black predominate states. The difference between SSA states and Northern African At the high and mid scores are small.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Official_Development_Assistance_received

      “Then sub-Saharan Africans were bellow antiquity level development, because Mesoamerican were more advanced than them in many fields, except when it comes to metallurgy, though they were still proficient.

      Also, history isn’t linear. Those are just distinct paths.”

      So if History isn’t linear, then that undercuts your whole argument on Africa being “backward”. “Distinct paths” arguments would require specialized explanations

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      Also, guess what, Su Nuraxi was part of a trading and diffused culture, not “minimal contact”.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardinia#Nuragic_civilization

      In Otherwords, unlike Zimbabwe, it used megalith technology ultimately from communicating cultures that already centralized.

      By contrasts, the Bantu that built these were Agro-pastoralists with little experience in Stone Masonry to Begin with.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      More on South Africa.

      https://www.grainsa.co.za/soil-erosion-in-south-africa—its-nature-and-distribution

      Erosion occurring in the Highlands area of the map for the region, now becoming an issue.

      https://lcluc.umd.edu/hotspot/dryland-degradation-south-africa

      Commercial farming only increased the issue.

      Like

    • George_s says:

      ….You’re comparing Architecture from two different time periods. If you don’t see how that is fallacious, that’s on you.

      No you don’t understand my argument. Modern Black Sahelians make less impressive structures than Berber itinerant traders, while in a similar climate. Even Afrocentrists will admit subconsciously that Berber Ksours are more impressive because they will lie and appropriate them as Black architectural feats(very common on the internet)

      The areas views show how large the cite actually is.

      Dhar Tichitt wasn’t a city, it was a neolithic settlement. Cucuteni–Trypillia is a much more impressive Neolithic settlement but nobody call it a city.

      In 110 B.C, they build this out of Mudbrick in Morocco.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moroccan_architecture#History
      Mind you this was already after trade
      Hardly much better than another Town around the same time, Djenne Jeno, with it’s Sudano Sahelian architecture, and grew with trade long after.
      http://www.antiquityofman.com/Complex_WA_EA.html

      Ok, I’ll have to agree, but Berber mud architecture TODAY tends to be of better quality than Sudano Sahelian architecture. Look at the city of Aït Benhaddou for example

      The lines are parallel to each others, they are straight, and it looks regular and detailed. Compare to the mosque of Djenne.

      You are comparing commercial farming to subsistence farming. South And Zimbabwe’s Africa’s fertile land was a small section of the Larger Bulk, and it is currently being exhausted. The economic boost was short-termed and resulted in Modern soil erosion. During Apartheid, the era of commercial farming, it was hardly even brought up.

      Ok, I’ll admit that this is a good point, but even if there was soil erosion, this economical boost on the long term created enough wealth to deal with it in the future.

      Also, explain why Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector declined immediately after Mugabe expelled the White farmers, and why the situation was so bad that Mugabe had to shamefully ask the White farmers to come back? Surely, it’s because they had an experience that indigenous Zimbabwean didn’t possess when it comes to food production, because Mugabe could have had simply ask indigenous farmers to farm, if they had the experience of those White farmers.

      https://allafrica.com/stories/201802040037.html

      Rhodesia was literally known as the breadbasket of Africa, and Mugabe destroyed this success by expelling White farmers

      So you are aware of their rice. Even on Wikipedia, it mentions that the rice was selected for resistance against poor conditions over high yields.

      My point is that those African farmers didn’t develop intensive farming practices, when they could have. Also it just says “It is drought- and deep-water-resistant, and tolerates fluctuations in water depth, iron toxicity, infertile soils, severe climatic conditions, and human neglect”, not that the farmers selected it to be like that. It could very well just be its natural characteristics rather than the result of meticulous selection by those African farmers.

      Are you Joking?
      The fact that Rwandans also intensified there just proves my point.

      My point was that they didn’t do it until after colonialism, and the fact that they do it now(as shown by that image) proves that they had the potential to figure it out in the past. Or do you have evidences that Rwandans use intensive agricultural practices like terraces in pre-colonial times?

      These Nilotic/Bantus, mind you, were far more recent to the area than Ethiopians. Therefore that still leaves comparison complicated based on how much opportunity in economics between the two.

      The Bantu are indeed recent to the area but are you sure that the Nilotes weren’t? The Nilotes lived in North-Eastern Africa for centuries as far as I know.

      It proves noting in you court on West Africa, was it reasserts my point that West Africa is Dearth in that regard. In response of areas of South Africa, see here.
      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00672709609511455?journalCode=raza20
      And West Africa.
      https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:332120/FULLTEXT01.pdf

      Ok, so terracing was probably practiced in West Africa. The problem is that evidences for those systems are pretty late and likely not indigenous to the area. A lot of those things are said to be”documented in the 19th-20th century” in that paper. The only exception is for the Mandara Mountais that the author claim has evidences of terracing in 1500 AD, which is still very late and thus likely not an indigenous system of terracing.

      I understand that pre-colonial West Africans weren’t really literate to document those kind of things but we still have archeological evidences.

      What hurts the “race realist” perspective is how that Caucasoid DNA doesn’t help in political Stability.

      Is that why most first-world countries are White Western countries? Or why Scandinavia used to be so stable before immigration?

      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Ethiopia/wb_political_stability/
      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Ghana/wb_political_stability/
      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Nigeria/wb_political_stability/

      Ethiopia has low political stability mostly because of tribalism, because the modern-day country is inhabited by many different ethnicities(and races) and is extremely diverse, even for an African country. Ghana on the other hand has very low tribal diversity (Most of the country is Akan), and while Nigeria may be diverse, it is far from being as diverse as Ethiopia.

      Ethiopia has Nilotes, Cushites, Semites, etc…. It’s not surprising that the country is unstable.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_Human_Development_Index
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Official_Development_Assistance_received

      The problem is that you forget recent developments. Ethiopia is the fastest growing country of the world :
      https://www.cgdev.org/article/ethiopia-now-africas-fastest-growing-economy-cnn

      It’s recovering from decades of mismanagement from the communist regime of the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. Ethiopia will need time to recover, but it eventually will.

      So if History isn’t linear, then that undercuts your whole argument on Africa being “backward”. “Distinct paths” arguments would require specialized explanations

      Good point. But still, some people have a more sophisticated culture than others, or had more impressive feats.

      Also, Rwanda also outdoes Ethiopia in Political Stability, HDI, as well as corruption control.

      Are you seriously taking statistics from Rwanda seriously? David Himbara, who once worked for Kagame, exposed the corruption behind those statistics long ago, and he even wrote a book about it. Everyone knows most of them are fake :
      http://roape.net/2019/04/18/a-straightforward-case-of-fake-statistics/
      http://roape.net/2019/01/29/revealing-lies-questioning-complicity/
      http://roape.net/2018/11/21/the-cover-up-complicity-in-rwandas-lies/
      http://roape.net/2018/07/26/rwandas-house-of-sand-brutality-lies-and-complicity/
      http://roape.net/2017/07/26/faking-rwandan-gdp-growth-myth/

      Like

    • George_s says:

      Also, you are making a one-sided argument. If we are going to blame European colonialists for soil erosion, then we should also talk about the methods of soil conservation they introduced. Like “Fanya Juu” terraces were introduced to Kenya with colonialism, that conserve the soil and water :

      ““Fanya juu” terraces are not new to Kenya. During the colonial period a large number of such terraces were built, often using forced labor. Largely as a backlash, the terraces were either destroyed or left to deteriorate by the people after Independence”
      — enhancing agriculture in africa

      “Awareness and adoption of bench terraces and fanya juu measures can be linked to colonial legacy”
      — Farmers’ indicators for soil erosion mapping and crop yield estimation in central highlands of Kenya

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “No you don’t understand my argument. Modern Black Sahelians make less impressive structures than Berber itinerant traders, while in a similar climate. Even Afrocentrists will admit subconsciously that Berber Ksours are more impressive because they will lie and appropriate them as Black architectural feats(very common on the internet).”

      I don’t care what Afrocentrists do, I’m talking about comparing two sites. I pointed out that it was a trading post and not a subsistence cite. Unless you have a Black Sahelian Cite of the same age and climate that Proves it superior, go ahead. The problem is you didn’t.

      The areas views show how large the cite actually is.

      “Dhar Tichitt wasn’t a city, it was a neolithic settlement. Cucuteni–Trypillia is a much more impressive Neolithic settlement but nobody call it a city.”

      I never called it a city to begin with. I meant to say “site” but said “cite”. My bad.

      In 110 B.C, they build this out of Mudbrick in Morocco.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moroccan_architecture#History
      Mind you this was already after trade
      Hardly much better than another Town around the same time, Djenne Jeno, with it’s Sudano Sahelian architecture, and grew with trade long after.
      http://www.antiquityofman.com/Complex_WA_EA.html
      “Ok, I’ll have to agree, but Berber mud architecture TODAY tends to be of better quality than Sudano Sahelian architecture. Look at the city of Aït Benhaddou for example
      https://c8.alamy.com/comp/CRE2RJ/kasbah-with-ornamental-decorations-residential-mud-brick-castle-of-CRE2RJ.jpg.”

      The lines are parallel to each others, they are straight, and it looks regular and detailed. Compare to the mosque of Djenne.”

      You are comparing a reconstructed Mosque to a specific ornamented residence instead of comparing both whole cities

      Or Gao.

      https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/view-gao-city-in-mali.html

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A%C3%AFt_Benhaddou

      Not that different.

      You are comparing commercial farming to subsistence farming. South And Zimbabwe’s Africa’s fertile land was a small section of the Larger Bulk, and it is currently being exhausted. The economic boost was short-termed and resulted in Modern soil erosion. During Apartheid, the era of commercial farming, it was hardly even brought up.

      “Ok, I’ll admit that this is a good point, but even if there was soil erosion, this economical boost on the long term created enough wealth to deal with it in the future.”

      Using Capital made in a completely different environment and economic history. The Afrikaners, btw, were only commercial under the British Cape Colony infrastructure.

      You can intensify anywhere with industrialization. The problem is that it isn’t always smart.

      “Also, explain why Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector declined immediately after Mugabe expelled the White farmers, and why the situation was so bad that Mugabe had to shamefully ask the White farmers to come back? Surely, it’s because they had an experience that indigenous Zimbabwean didn’t possess when it comes to food production, because Mugabe could have had simply ask indigenous farmers to farm, if they had the experience of those White farmers.”

      This doesn’t effect my argument at all. Historically, in both Zimbabwe or South Africa, Blacks on these farms were farmhands and experienced educated ones lived in Urban areas. It’s not surprising that few would be skilled at commercial farming.

      With that said, here’s a recent example.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2016/06/27/meet-the-36-year-old-entrepreneur-who-owns-nigerias-2nd-largest-rice-farm/#673819094dd6

      And given how South-East Africa is among the most fertile parts of the Continent, less examples in other countries isn’t surprising since it wasn’t their colonial specialization either.

      “Rhodesia was literally known as the breadbasket of Africa, and Mugabe destroyed this success by expelling White farmers.”

      I never denied that Afrikaners were smart, that doesn’t change my points on geography.

      So you are aware of their rice. Even on Wikipedia, it mentions that the rice was selected for resistance against poor conditions over high yields.

      “My point is that those African farmers didn’t develop intensive farming practices, when they could have. Also it just says “It is drought- and deep-water-resistant, and tolerates fluctuations in water depth, iron toxicity, infertile soils, severe climatic conditions, and human neglect”, not that the farmers selected it to be like that. It could very well just be its natural characteristics rather than the result of meticulous selection by those African farmers.”

      Except it can be distinguished from Wild Rice.

      https://www.pnas.org/content/99/25/16360

      https://www.nature.com/articles/ng.3044

      Are you Joking?
      The fact that Rwandans also intensified there just proves my point.

      “My point was that they didn’t do it until after colonialism, and the fact that they do it now(as shown by that image) proves that they had the potential to figure it out in the past. Or do you have evidences that Rwandans use intensive agricultural practices like terraces in pre-colonial times?”

      I gave evidence of other African Groups doing so. Likewise Afrikaners were still subsistence farmers until the had Cape Colony infrastructure, so there.

      These Nilotic/Bantus, mind you, were far more recent to the area than Ethiopians. Therefore that still leaves comparison complicated based on how much opportunity in economics between the two.

      “The Bantu are indeed recent to the area but are you sure that the Nilotes weren’t? The Nilotes lived in North-Eastern Africa for centuries as far as I know.”

      Yes, but the especialized in herding rather than farming. The Dinka for instance (as I pointed out in the article) were wealthy in terms of cattle. In precolonial Rwanda, the Tutsis were nomads but the Hutus were the farmers.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Rwanda

      It proves noting in you court on West Africa, was it reasserts my point that West Africa is Dearth in that regard. In response of areas of South Africa, see here.
      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00672709609511455?journalCode=raza20
      And West Africa.
      https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:332120/FULLTEXT01.pdf

      “Ok, so terracing was probably practiced in West Africa. The problem is that evidences for those systems are pretty late and likely not indigenous to the area. A lot of those things are said to be”documented in the 19th-20th century” in that paper. The only exception is for the Mandara Mountais that the author claim has evidences of terracing in 1500 AD, which is still very late and thus likely not an indigenous system of terracing.”

      You say likely “not indigenous”, do you have proof of that? Because the timeline was 1500-1800 during the slave trade, and Europeans couldn’t have penetrated that far until 1870s. The point is, whether diffused or not, they did intensify.

      The point of the article was that the indirect dynamics of trading prompted intensification, which parallels ancient Mediterranean trade and the rise of states.

      Otherwise, as I cited elsewhere in the comment section, precolonial trade also grew states as well.

      Unless you can CITE and not speculate on what foreigner aided them, I can dismiss this.

      I understand that pre-colonial West Africans weren’t really literate to document those kind of things but we still have archeological evidences.

      What hurts the “race realist” perspective is how that Caucasoid DNA doesn’t help in political Stability.

      “Is that why most first-world countries are White Western countries? Or why Scandinavia used to be so stable before immigration?”

      I’m talking about within Africa. Applying my arguments of environment, diffusion, soil fertility, and interactions the differences in history between continents is obvious.

      I’m applying those concepts to the degree of change on the continent.

      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Ethiopia/wb_political_stability/
      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Ghana/wb_political_stability/
      https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Nigeria/wb_political_stability/

      “Ethiopia has low political stability mostly because of tribalism, because the modern-day country is inhabited by many different ethnicities(and races) and is extremely diverse, even for an African country. Ghana on the other hand has very low tribal diversity (Most of the country is Akan), and while Nigeria may be diverse, it is far from being as diverse as Ethiopia.”

      You’re joking, Nigeria has Boko-Haram, tensions between farmers and herders with sharp city rural divide by ethnicity by borders they didn’t create precolonially.

      Ethiopia had the benefit of being a polity for Millenia by Comparison. This is special pleading.

      https://www.indexmundi.com/ghana/ethnic_groups.html

      It’s not that Heterogenous compared to other African Countries.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopia#Demographics

      “Ethiopia has Nilotes, Cushites, Semites, etc…. It’s not surprising that the country is unstable.”

      Again, not that Unique. See Nigeria.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Ethnic_groups_in_Nigeria

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_Human_Development_Index
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Official_Development_Assistance_received

      In terms of violence, it has less yet still is low on HDI

      https://www.acleddata.com/2015/07/10/state-fragility-and-conflict-in-africa/

      Again, it’s ethnic groups have been together as a state for Millenia, so “ethnic conflict” doesn’t explain it. The Old leader might, but that’s not very unique.

      “The problem is that you forget recent developments. Ethiopia is the fastest growing country of the world :
      https://www.cgdev.org/article/ethiopia-now-africas-fastest-growing-economy-cnn

      That’s one measure, I’m talking general index.

      “It’s recovering from decades of mismanagement from the communist regime of the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. Ethiopia will need time to recover, but it eventually will.”

      Ethiopia had time with it;s DNA and diffusion, and other African Nations had dictators too by your standards for centuries.

      Likewise, multiple Black African Nations outdo Eritea and Morocco in Economic Growth are aren’t far from Ethiopia.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_GDP_growth

      In General, SSA is faster growing than North Africa.

      https://evanlieberman.org/2011/12/05/africa-rising-but-not-necessarily-in-democracies/

      So if History isn’t linear, then that undercuts your whole argument on Africa being “backward”. “Distinct paths” arguments would require specialized explanations

      “Good point. But still, some people have a more sophisticated culture than others, or had more impressive feats.”

      Than I won’t deny, from a metric or qualitative approach. I don’t disagree with Rindermann even on superstition, my point is that his explanation on tracking technology in precolonial times doesn’t obviously explain it.

      Precolonial BELIEFS on the otherhand would be better. Talking about African secret societies (basically cults) and FGM would be more clear.

      “Also, Rwanda also outdoes Ethiopia in Political Stability, HDI, as well as corruption control.”

      Are you seriously taking statistics from Rwanda seriously? David Himbara, who once worked for Kagame, exposed the corruption behind those statistics long ago, and he even wrote a book about it. Everyone knows most of them are fake :

      “http://roape.net/2019/04/18/a-straightforward-case-of-fake-statistics/
      http://roape.net/2019/01/29/revealing-lies-questioning-complicity/
      http://roape.net/2018/11/21/the-cover-up-complicity-in-rwandas-lies/
      http://roape.net/2018/07/26/rwandas-house-of-sand-brutality-lies-and-complicity/
      http://roape.net/2017/07/26/faking-rwandan-gdp-growth-myth/

      I’ll give you that, but otherwise my general HDI data still proves my point.

      Uguanda, similar Geography, still is higher than Ethiopia and lacks the huge fake statistic issue that Rwanda has.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “Also, you are making a one-sided argument. If we are going to blame European colonialists for soil erosion, then we should also talk about the methods of soil conservation they introduced. Like “Fanya Juu” terraces were introduced to Kenya with colonialism, that conserve the soil and water”

      I was not making a one sided argument, because they applied to South africa and Zimbabwe. I never said anything about Kenya.

      Likewise, Indigenous methods are also effective as well.

      https://www.jstor.org/stable/25164052?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

      “Fanya juu” terraces are not new to Kenya. During the colonial period a large number of such terraces were built, often using forced labor. Largely as a backlash, the terraces were either destroyed or left to deteriorate by the people after Independence”
      — enhancing agriculture in africa”

      They were based on indigenous proccess priot to the 1950s and in the 1970s they were reintroduced and improved upon.

      http://www.fao.org/3/i1861e/i1861e07.pdf

      “Terracing steep lands in Africa is an indigenous technology. The same is
      true of earth bunds, stone lines and vegetative strips. New methods have evolved over the years in response to increasing population and land pressure. Under colonial regimes, large areas of communal lands were compulsorily terraced in the 1950s (e.g. in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia) through the construction of ridges or bunds. Often rejected immediately after independence such techniques made a come-back in the 1970s having been improved and promoted through projects / programmes.”

      “Awareness and adoption of bench terraces and fanya juu measures can be linked to colonial legacy”

      “— Farmers’ indicators for soil erosion mapping and crop yield estimation in central highlands of Kenya”

      And why were they rejected (in Tanzania at least)?

      http://www.suaire.suanet.ac.tz:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/1233/SIBAWAY%20BAKARI%20MWANGO.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

      “Many scientific „Soil and Water Conservation‟ (SWC) measures such as
      bench terraces, Fanya Juu terraces, cut off drains, contour strips and agroforestry have been promoted in the area to combat the escalating problem of soil degradation. However, these technologies were rejected or minimally adopted because most of them were laborious and expensive. In the West Usambara Mountains, farmers have their own local SWC measures such as miraba (rectangular grass bound strips that do not necessarily follow contour lines), micro ridges and stone bunds, technologies which unfortunately have received very little considerations. Miraba is the most preferred and widely practised indigenous SWC measure in the West Usambara Mountains because it is cheaper in implementation and provides fodder for livestock.”

      They already had SWC methods prior to colonialism. The study also shown that, in proper contexts, they are quite effective.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      More on intensifed land use precolonial In SE Africa.

      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/075f/2fbbef9d9fcc44c4772fdaab31638b52512a.pdf

      http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu14re/uu14re0k.htm

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280599273_Mapping_the_history_of_African_agricultural_systems

      Also you can see in the map above, Seenegambians did produce intensive farming by means of techniques, but the productivity in the area was low prior as the other study indicate thus prompting trade and then more intensification.

      It was likewise done in various parts of West Africa and Eastern Africa.

      “Going back to the initially posed question why an “Asian” development not occurred in Africa it is tempting to go back to some of the maps describing Africas role in the Eurasian trade networks. In the first millennium AD when many Asian regions had already started a development towards a landesque-capital intensive and labour intensive farming these regions were also at the crossroads of several intensive east-westerly trade networks, while Africa to a large extent seems to have more peripheral in these exchanges. (Beaujard 2007 – see map below.”

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255653306_Mapping_precolonial_African_agricultural_systems

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      Also, one last thing on Native Americans. Technically, their “Isolation” From the Old World Neolithic Influence can be question.

      I don’t mean diffusion AFTER they went into the Americas, but How RECENT the LAST wave of Native Americans arrived following Mesolithic development In Eurasia.

      https://notpoliticallycorrect.me/2018/01/18/30441/

      Point is, at least until 20k ago, they were still part of Eurasia cultures that would develop into Old World Holocene Peoples.

      This means that their HG tactics were closer to the HG tactics of Old world Eurasians, hence the out of sequence but seemingly comparable developments.

      By contrast, Africans based themselves on a different form of HG developments.

      This can be seen in their largely untounched Farming tools And Differing Mathematics.

      Ron Eglash Compares a contrasts the mathematical application in Native American Designs
      https://monoskop.org/images/f/fc/Eglash_Ron_African_Fractals_Modern_Computing_and_Indigenous_Design.pdf

      Roger Blench’s conclusion on African Farming tools.

      http://www.rogerblench.info/Archaeology/Africa/Blench%20agric%20tools%202014%20offprint.pdf

      “Although there is a case for the diffusion of some implements across the Sahara, to a large extent sub-Saharan
      Africa seems to have followed its own path with respect
      to agricultural tools. The most notable example of an
      implement that failed to spread is the plough; ploughs
      were unknown in sub-Saharan Africa until introduced
      by missionaries and the colonial authorities in the 1920s.
      Ethiopia, as so often, seems to have quite a different history
      from elsewhere. The plough characteristic of Ethiopia, an
      ard that fractures and disturbs the soil, seems to be have
      been introduced following the migrations of Ethiosemitic
      speakers across from Yemen. The Amharic term for
      plough, maräša, ማማማ, has been borrowed into all the main
      languages of Ethiopia. Even where this term is not used,
      the local terms for plough turn out to be constructs (‘hoe
      of cow’, and so on), which indicate its recent adoption.
      Barnett (1999, p. 24) canvasses ideas of introductions
      from Arabia or Egypt around 2000–1000 b.c.e., but the
      linguistic evidence suggests a more recent date. Neither
      the design of the Ethiopian plough nor its name points
      to external origin, and it is quite likely that this tool was
      constructed locally through stimulus diffusion; that is, a
      plough seen elsewhere was redesigned for local conditions.”

      So This again proves my point on Ethiopia being different in terms of Farming geographically. As one of my previous quotes indicated, Ploughs were largely counterproductive In West Africa where their Crops were formed. East africa, being more Fertile, could support it.

      And like my article pointed out, Pastoralism from Asia did diffuse to West Africa because of the ecology and Lifestyles suiting it, but the mobile nature of the inhabitants didn’t suit the spread of Farming until the Late holocene, which resulted in Indigenous Crops as my article links to. The Yam one reconstructs the general food complex of Millet in the Sahara, Rice somewhat later towards the Middle Delta, then Yams by the forests that supports Tubers.

      Before all of This, Pottery (as Neumann, Rinderman’s cited researcher noted) existed in the 10th Millennia BC but not in Europe (they have ceramics, but not Vessels until Neolithic Farmers expanded).

      I mention Nicholas Wade for a good reason. This gives a good summation on the areas of “distinct histories”.

      “A major region of slow population growth was Africa south of the Sahara. The continent suffers from a lack of navigable rivers, and disease makes many regions hard to inhabit. Some of Africa’s chiefdoms had grown into large kingdoms, such as the Ashanti empire in Ghana, the Ethiopian empire,
      and the Shona kingdom in Zimbabwe by the time Europeans arrived and thwarted their further development. In 1879 a Zulu army armed with spears and oxhide shields defeated a British force armed with modern weapons at the battle of Isandlwana. But throughout much of Africa, the lack of
      dense populations and large scale warfare, two essential ingredients in the formation of modern states, prevented such structures from arising. Africa south of the Sahara remained largely tribal throughout the historical period, as did Australia, Polynesia and the circumpolar regions. The evolution of human social behavior was thus different and largely or entirely independent on each continent. States had developed in the Middle East, in India and in China by around 5,000 years ago, and in Central and South America by about 1,000 years ago. For lack of good soils, favorable
      climate, navigable rivers and population pressure, Africa remained a continent of chiefdoms and incipient empires. In Australia, people reached the tribal level but without developing agriculture; their technology remained that of the Stone Age into modern times.”

      Later on,

      “In Africa, population pressure has long been much lower than in Europe and Asia, probably because of poor soils and adverse climates that have restrained food production. State formation, as mentioned, depends on warfare between sizable polities that are forced to compete because of geographical constraints, such as living along a fertile river valley. But intense, largescale warfare is unlikely to occur until population densities have become so high that people have few other choices.
      Until modern times, populations in Africa remained very low, constricted by disease and the grudging fertility of the soil in many tropical regions. For lack of demographic pressure, they thus escaped the urbanization and regimentation to which the populations of Europe and East Asia were
      subjected for many generations. From an evolutionary perspective, African populations were just as well adapted to their environment as were those of Europe and Asia to theirs. Small, loosely organized populations were
      the appropriate response to the difficult conditions of the African continent. But they were not necessarily well suited to the high efficiency economies to which European and East Asian populations had become adapted. From this perspective, it is understandable that African countries should take longer to make the transition to modern economies.”

      This is consistent with the geographical, historical, and economical features of precolonial African Societies. However, I will mention that recent Archaeological data seems that the “coping with uncertainty” I linked to earlier, and better demographic data, suggest that some of this is overstated.

      I’m planning on saving this though for the next article. Likewise, I’m aware that wade posits genetic causations as well, but in the context of tracking actual development he did a better job of providing a framework of development that can explain it then Rinderman.

      file:///home/chronos/u-07cb4176413bec925a552ecf6cbe98145b47b356/MyFiles/Downloads/nicholas-wade-a-troublesome-inheritance_-genes-race-and-human-history-penguin-press-hc-the-20141%20(1).pdf

      Like

  2. George_s says:

    Weil (2014),
    … wrote a lot of non-sense.

    Cameroon and Nigeria eastward along the coast and the Niger River. In this latter region, the available measures show a level of development just below or sometimes equal to that in the belt of Eurasia running from Japan and China, through South Asia and the Middle East, into Europe.
    Yeah, no. WHAT is “”””””sometimes””””””equal? Great Zimbabwe, one of the greatest architectural development in Sub-Saharan Africa, built in medieval times, is more primitive and less sophisticated than European developments from 1500 B.C.E, like the stone works of Su Nuraxi. This is a gap of almost 2 milleniums. So let’s just stop with the non-sense. Sub-Saharans were not “sometimes equal” in anything with Eurasia, wether it be architecture, agriculture, technology, bureaucracy, urbanization, literature, political system, or anything that has to do with development really.

    Depending on the index used, West Africa was above or below the level of development in the Northern Andes and Mexico.
    “Above or below”? Okay. But no. It doesn’t mean anything. It seems to me that Weil is just making assumptions and that nothing he says is grounded in empirical evidences. This Weil guy is a joke and this was just an unsourced and obviously ridiculous quote that claims West Africa was “just below or equal” to the major civilizations of the Old World. Total non-sense.

    Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “Weil (2014),
      … wrote a lot of non-sense.”

      Lets see.

      “Cameroon and Nigeria eastward along the coast and the Niger River. In this latter region, the available measures show a level of development just below or sometimes equal to that in the belt of Eurasia running from Japan and China, through South Asia and the Middle East, into Europe.
      Yeah, no. WHAT is “”””””sometimes””””””equal? Great Zimbabwe, one of the greatest architectural development in Sub-Saharan Africa, built in medieval times, is more primitive and less sophisticated than European developments from 1500 B.C.E, like the stone works of Su Nuraxi. This is a gap of almost 2 milleniums. So let’s just stop with the non-sense. Sub-Saharans were not “sometimes equal” in anything with Eurasia, wether it be architecture, agriculture, technology, bureaucracy, urbanization, literature, political system, or anything that has to do with development really.”

      Unless you have comprehensive data on each of these, I’m inclined to reject it as using Zimbabwe as a strawman tells me little except that you didn;t really read what the footnote said.

      “Depending on the index used, West Africa was above or below the level of development in the Northern Andes and Mexico.
      “Above or below”? Okay. But no. It doesn’t mean anything. It seems to me that Weil is just making assumptions and that nothing he says is grounded in empirical evidences. This Weil guy is a joke and this was just an unsourced and obviously ridiculous quote that claims West Africa was “just below or equal” to the major civilizations of the Old World. Total non-sense.”

      I have a link to the study, so unless you actually directly debunked the data you are the ones making assumptions.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      Found the study on Weil.

      https://books.google.com/books?id=Kv4OBAAAQBAJ&q=Andes#v=snippet&q=Andes&f=false

      Without buying it, you can read the data on all factors used in this study except Land Quality.

      Likewise, the rest of the discussion still notes Africa not being particularly high, but clearly not unsually in context of all Traditional societies.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      On Subsistence ratios as a living standard ratio.

      https://eh.net/book_reviews/labour-and-living-standards-in-pre-colonial-west-africa-the-case-of-the-gold-coast/

      “His calculations ultimately suggest that the subsistence ratios for unskilled labour on the Gold Coast were comparable to those of unskilled workers elsewhere in the world — particularly India, Mexico and Austria — challenging the widespread assumption that Africans have historically been relatively impoverished.”

      Study here.

      https://es.handels.gu.se/digitalAssets/1352/1352002_living-standards-in-a-west-african-18th-century-micro-cosmos.pdf

      Like

    • George_s says:

      Found the study on Weil.

      Let’s see

      Overall, the level of urbanization in Africa is similar to that of North America (where all but one city is in present-day Mexico or Guatemala). North Africa has roughly the same level of urbanization as sub-Saharan Africa (although in a much smaller area), while Europe has a significantly higher level and Asia higher still.

      Ok, that’s non-sense. First of all, he got his geography wrong. Guatemala and Mexico are in Central America, not Northern America. Secondly, that’s a fallacy because is basically just counting the number of “cities” as a metric for urbanization. Just because Central America and sub-Saharan Africa had the same number of cities doesn’t mean they had the same level of urbanization. Benin City is a fricking village compared to Teotihuacán or Tenochtitlan, and Tenochtitlan had much more developed urban planning and infrastructures. Even the Mayan cities, although not as large as those in Mexico, far surpassed any contemporaneous towns in SSA.

      See this paper for Aztec city planning :
      http://www.public.asu.edu/~mesmith9/1-CompleteSet/MES-08-AzCityPlan-Encyclopedia.pdf

      And most Sub-Saharan “cities”, like Benin City, were very much just villages with an high concentration of people, where subsistence activities were still very common within the city walls. Also most sub-Saharans lacked writing systems which hindered communication and made it difficult to achieve city density and sizes as great as that of others in the world.

      I mean, compare this Aztec city :

      To one of the most celebrated pre-colonial “city” in West Africa :
      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/2d1cbd071c1ad0c711c93a010d33d18bbf0e2fcb/0_0_953_572/master/953.jpg?width=700&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=7b38c3b7d16e32579f38d78210bf01d9

      Let’s be real

      Like

    • George_s says:

      On Subsistence ratios as a living standard ratio.

      That’s not really “West Africa”, he is just studying a small area of Southern Ghana. Not representative at all of the realities in the rest of West Africa, even less so Africa, so this is irrelevant. The reality outside of this small region of Southern Ghana could be COMPLETELY different.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “Let’s see

      Overall, the level of urbanization in Africa is similar to that of North America (where all but one city is in present-day Mexico or Guatemala). North Africa has roughly the same level of urbanization as sub-Saharan Africa (although in a much smaller area), while Europe has a significantly higher level and Asia higher still.

      Ok, that’s non-sense. First of all, he got his geography wrong. Guatemala and Mexico are in Central America, not Northern America.”

      No, you’re wrong. He said the continent, North America, not the region “Northern America”.

      “Secondly, that’s a fallacy because is basically just counting the number of “cities” as a metric for urbanization. Just because Central America and sub-Saharan Africa had the same number of cities doesn’t mean they had the same level of urbanization. Benin City is a fricking village compared to Teotihuacán or Tenochtitlan, and Tenochtitlan had much more developed urban planning and infrastructures. Even the Mayan cities, although not as large as those in Mexico, far surpassed any contemporaneous towns in SSA.”

      Seeing how the comparison is on economic development, distribution of cities matters as an indicator of social organization regardless of technological differences.

      So That’s not a fallacy.

      “See this paper for Aztec city planning :
      http://www.public.asu.edu/~mesmith9/1-CompleteSet/MES-08-AzCityPlan-Encyclopedia.pdf

      And most Sub-Saharan “cities”, like Benin City, were very much just villages with an high concentration of people, where subsistence activities were still very common within the city walls. Also most sub-Saharans lacked writing systems which hindered communication and made it difficult to achieve city density and sizes as great as that of others in the world.

      I mean, compare this Aztec city :

      To one of the most celebrated pre-colonial “city” in West Africa :
      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/2d1cbd071c1ad0c711c93a010d33d18bbf0e2fcb/0_0_953_572/master/953.jpg?width=700&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=7b38c3b7d16e32579f38d78210bf01d9

      Let’s be real”

      If you want to be “real”, you would do better than simply comparing pictures. I can also city Kumasi or the Bamileke Architecture as well as Benin.

      http://www.afropedea.org/asante-architecture

      https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1696533

      This is more on city life than architecture of Kumsasi, but precolonial sketches are common.

      http://www.lse.ac.uk/Economic-History/Assets/Documents/Research/GEHN/GEHNConferences/conf2/Conf2-GAustin.pdf

      Do you even have a paper that actually shows that African Buildings and urban were “inferior”?

      As for Lack of writing, that applies to Native Americans Outside of those cities as well. Writing is used for laws and trade, population density is caused by surpluses, which is what actually hindered development in Africa. Nicholas Wade mentions it in his book.

      Otherwise, see Ife and the Bakuba kingdom on
      Trade enabled African development, and Writing wasn’t necessitated in this case.

      http://cega.berkeley.edu/assets/cega_events/25/5B_Trade__FDI_and_Development.pdf

      As for writing, they also used drums as a substitute for a variety of uses.

      file:///home/chronos/u-07cb4176413bec925a552ecf6cbe98145b47b356/MyFiles/Downloads/AFRICAN_DRUM_TELEGRAPHY_AND_INDIGENOUS_I1.pdf

      See the other article on Hart on the Lukasa, a mneumonic device as a work around for records.

      On Technology, I’ve already cited Killick in the article.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “That’s not really “West Africa”, he is just studying a small area of Southern Ghana. Not representative at all of the realities in the rest of West Africa, even less so Africa, so this is irrelevant. The reality outside of this small region of Southern Ghana could be COMPLETELY different.”

      True, but unless you have a metric and data to compare it is the best we got. Mind you this is a comparison of unskilled subsistence levels.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      Couldn’t find figures on Benin City, but the Ashante empire (Capital Kumasi) Was around 3,000,000.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashanti_Empire

      Like

    • George_s says:

      AFRICAN_DRUM_TELEGRAPHY_AND_INDIGENOUS_I1

      This paper doesn’t seem to be peer-reviewed and it was written by someone called “Zulumathabo Zulu”. From what I can see from his website, he seems to be a Black Nationalist & Afrocentric. Reading that paper, it seems that it’s mostly just using a lot of big words to make a very simple technology(beating drums to imitate tonal languages) into something much more complex, by making reference to irrelevant metaphysical concepts

      Here is an example from that paper, where he is talking about the membrane :

      The membrane drum uses an animal skin on the drumhead. From a mathematical vantage point, there is a one to many relation between the drum and the drumhead given the fact that some drums use a single drumhead while others require two or more drumheads. The drum is made out of a special tree for which the engineering technologist must seek prior permissions before touching and using it due to the fact that the African natives (Zulu, 2014) believe that the tree possesses the spirit. The necessary permissions are sought from the gods of the cosmos with regards to a particular tree before commencing the construction of the drum

      Note all the exaggerations. He complicates his vocabulary to make it seem complex to use multiple drums by saying “From a mathematical vantage point”, then call people who just build drums “engineering technologist”, confuse superstitious or magical thinking(the type Rindermann was talking about, ironically) with abstract empirical thinking, and then starts to talk about irrelevant metaphysical concepts like the “gods of the cosmos”.

      I’m not denying that Africans may have used drums to communicate, but I would like a better source, that actually gives accurate sources as to how widely and how efficient those drums were to communicate in comparison to other system of communication in the world, without exaggerations, magical thinking, or without pretentious word vomit

      Do you even have a paper that actually shows that African Buildings and urban were “inferior”?

      Come on. I don’t need a paper to say that. Cities like Tenochtitlan are often compared to the best Europe had to offer, like Venice, for its impressive infrastructures and city planning. You can’t compare Tenochtitlan to cities of mud and straw like those of West Africa.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “This paper doesn’t seem to be peer-reviewed and it was written by someone called “Zulumathabo Zulu”. From what I can see from his website, he seems to be a Black Nationalist & Afrocentric.”

      If that is the case, I wasn’t aware. I often try to avoid such bullshit, like Black Olmecs or anything by Clyde Winters.

      “Reading that paper, it seems that it’s mostly just using a lot of big words to make a very simple technology(beating drums to imitate tonal languages) into something much more complex, by making reference to irrelevant metaphysical concepts

      Here is an example from that paper, where he is talking about the membrane :

      The membrane drum uses an animal skin on the drumhead. From a mathematical vantage point, there is a one to many relation between the drum and the drumhead given the fact that some drums use a single drumhead while others require two or more drumheads. The drum is made out of a special tree for which the engineering technologist must seek prior permissions before touching and using it due to the fact that the African natives (Zulu, 2014) believe that the tree possesses the spirit. The necessary permissions are sought from the gods of the cosmos with regards to a particular tree before commencing the construction of the drum.”

      Note all the exaggerations. He complicates his vocabulary to make it seem complex to use multiple drums by saying “From a mathematical vantage point”, then call people who just build drums “engineering technologist”, confuse superstitious or magical thinking(the type Rindermann was talking about, ironically) with abstract empirical thinking, and then starts to talk about irrelevant metaphysical concepts like the “gods of the cosmos”.”
      This would be more along the lines of “mysticism” than magical thinking (pedantic, I know), but if you want a better source, I can find one. The topic of African “Taliking Drums” simply isn’t that obscure, so I didn’t expect my first source to be this odd.

      This is less exaggerative.

      http://ijptnet.com/journals/ijpt/Vol_3_No_1_June_2015/15.pdf

      “I’m not denying that Africans may have used drums to communicate, but I would like a better source, that actually gives accurate sources as to how widely and how efficient those drums were to communicate in comparison to other system of communication in the world, without exaggerations, magical thinking, or without pretentious word vomit.”

      In that case, this source from the 40s might be more to your liking. Even back then, the methods used were deemed complex.

      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00437956.1945.11659257

      Do you even have a paper that actually shows that African Buildings and urban were “inferior”?

      “Come on. I don’t need a paper to say that. Cities like Tenochtitlan are often compared to the best Europe had to offer, like Venice, for its impressive infrastructures and city planning. You can’t compare Tenochtitlan to cities of mud and straw like those of West Africa.”

      Well one, they were made from Mud and Wood. Second, this type of construction is quite common in traditional societies.

      The reason why it is so common in Africa is simply because it was the most common material, and the type of agriculture typically done was shifting agriculture, so permanent stone settlements simply didn’t catch on in the region.

      A Dutch Traveler compares Benin (before the War), it’s streets specifically, to their quality in Holland.

      http://users.rowan.edu/~mcinneshin/5394/wk11/Bosman.htm

      This isn’t an isolated instance, either. See page 358.

      https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/3613/GirshickThornton_CivilWar.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

      Same with Kumasi. I couldn’t find much in the way for direct comparisons to cities, but the construction by the natives themselves was compared to the process of Gothic architecture.

      https://archive.org/details/missionfromcape00bowd/page/254

      Same book, but with illustrations.

      https://books.google.com/books?id=sWpdAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA163&lpg=PA163&dq=Account+of+coomassie+Ashantee&source=bl&ots=SsY1V3-74L&sig=ACfU3U1y1G42dClzAAt8hYJ9A92qjH-GIA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj20LK50aPjAhVTqp4KHf3OCIEQ6AEwFnoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=architecture&f=false

      Like

    • George_s says:

      Well one, they were made from Mud and Wood. Second, this type of construction is quite common in traditional societies.
      The reason why it is so common in Africa is simply because it was the most common material

      Do you have sources to support the claim that stone was widely less available in sub-Saharan Africa than in other regions of the world? Why is it that North Africans on the other hand extensively build using stone? And even the Romans didn’t have easy access to stone in their environment, but still managed to either import or find alternatives, by inventing concrete for example

      and the type of agriculture typically done was shifting agriculture, so permanent stone settlements simply didn’t catch on in the region

      What does shifting agriculture have to do with having stone architecture? It just means that the plots of land are cultivated temporarily, but African farmers were still mostly settled peoples.

      And if they practiced shifting cultivation, it just proves once again that their societies were much more primitive than those of the Americas, because shifting cultivation is a primitive agricultural technique dating back to the Neolithic, and this is a metric that I’m sure Weil ignored in his assessment. The fact that most of sub-Saharans used shifting cultivation without any “intensive” agricultural practice while people in Mesoamerican were using techniques such as the three sisters method, andine terraces, or massive cultivations in aztec platform islands, puts sub-Saharan Africa in a very inferior position when it comes to agricultural technology.

      A Dutch Traveler compares Benin (before the War), it’s streets specifically, to their quality in Holland.
      Same with Kumasi. I couldn’t find much in the way for direct comparisons to cities, but the construction by the natives themselves was compared to the process of Gothic architecture.

      That’s called bigotry of low-expectations. When you are a European traveler in the 17th century, and you land on a continent full of mudhuts, finding something as architecturally refined as a European peasant house is very impressive, and thus you make exaggerations and disingenuous comparisons about it.

      I looked at the illustrations, and well, those are nice thatched houses, but this is far from being as impressive as Gothic architecture. That’s barely as fine as half timbered commoner houses in Western Europe. As said previously, those explorers probably made these exaggerated observations by bigotry of low-expectations.

      Another thing is that a lot of the time, people in those days wanted to told stories about strange and great things far away all the time to impress their fellow countrymen when they would return and sell stories.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “Do you have sources to support the claim that stone was widely less available in sub-Saharan Africa than in other regions of the world? Why is it that North Africans on the other hand extensively build using stone? And even the Romans didn’t have easy access to stone in their environment, but still managed to either import or find alternatives, by inventing concrete for example.”

      I lack information on the exact quantity of stone, but like I said, obviously mud/wood was a better pick given their lifestyle.

      If you acknowledge Zimbabwe as Shona-built, then whether or not SSa have incentives to use stones is not much of discussion. Also see the Sandstone settlements of Dhar Tichitt and Tichitt Walata, tied to Mande people.

      and the type of agriculture typically done was shifting agriculture, so permanent stone settlements simply didn’t catch on in the region

      “What does shifting agriculture have to do with having stone architecture? It just means that the plots of land are cultivated temporarily, but African farmers were still mostly settled peoples.”

      “Shifting” implies moving off the land, and therefore often moving from place to place.

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248548075_Coping_with_uncertainty_Neolithic_life_in_the_Dhar_Tichitt-Walata_Mauritania_ca_4000-2300_BP

      “And if they practiced shifting cultivation, it just proves once again that their societies were much more primitive than those of the Americas, because shifting cultivation is a primitive agricultural technique dating back to the Neolithic, and this is a metric that I’m sure Weil ignored in his assessment. The fact that most of sub-Saharans used shifting cultivation without any “intensive” agricultural practice while people in Mesoamerican were using techniques such as the three sisters method, andine terraces, or massive cultivations in aztec platform islands, puts sub-Saharan Africa in a very inferior position when it comes to agricultural technology.”

      Shifting Cultivation was done due to poor soils, again, I referred to Nicholas Wade. You can find more info on the Thin topsoils of the Savanna on the web.

      Says here, just a single example, that the soil is quickly deplenished if over done, thus requiring shifting cultivation.

      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6123/9f9b57e164dfbd35b3723319e70ff74a7cb4.pdf

      This is still a problem in Modern Africa. This isn’t surprising given how it is just below a desert that is progressively getting larger. Intensification wasn’t an option. Eastern Africa did intensify because it had better soils.

      See the map here on ecological differences.

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306401173_Production_Systems_in_Pre-colonial_Africa

      https://journals.openedition.org/poldev/78

      “Moreover, the fertility of much of the land was relatively low or at least fragile, making it costly or difficult to pursue intensive cultivation, especially in the absence of animal manure. Sleeping sickness prevented the use of large animals, whether for ploughing or transport, in the forest zones and much of the savannas. The extreme seasonality of the annual distribution of rainfall rendered much of the dry season effectively unavailable for farm work. The consequent low opportunity cost of dry-season labour reduced the incentive to raise labour productivity in craft production. Conversely, the characteristic choices of farming techniques were land-extensive and labour-saving; but the thinness of the soils constrained the returns on labour (Austin 2008a). All this helps to explain why the productivity of African labour was apparently higher outside Africa over several centuries, cf. the underlying economic logic of the external slave trades which in turn, ironically, aggravated the scarcity of labour within Africa itself (Austin 2008b; Manning 1990).”

      On Ethiopia.

      “Ethiopia was the exception that proved the rule, with its fertile central provinces and large agricultural surplus supporting a long-established and modernising State that, alone in Africa, had the economic base to resist the “Scramble” successfully.”

      I won’t go into detail of Shifting Agriculture now, but simply put, the process in Eurasia and Africa inherently is done as a measure to maintain the land and in both case shows it is adaptive.

      A Dutch Traveler compares Benin (before the War), it’s streets specifically, to their quality in Holland.
      Same with Kumasi. I couldn’t find much in the way for direct comparisons to cities, but the construction by the natives themselves was compared to the process of Gothic architecture.

      “That’s called bigotry of low-expectations. When you are a European traveler in the 17th century, and you land on a continent full of mudhuts, finding something as architecturally refined as a European peasant house is very impressive, and thus you make exaggerations and disingenuous comparisons about it.”

      Okay, now you are reaching. I gave to cited evidence, pictures, and details of the architecture by Europeans but somehow their words count for MesoAmericans but not for Africans?

      “I looked at the illustrations, and well, those are nice thatched houses, but this is far from being as impressive as Gothic architecture. That’s barely as fine as half timbered commoner houses in Western Europe. As said previously, those explorers probably made these exaggerated observations by bigotry of low-expectations.”

      “Probably”, excuse me if I would take their word over yours. I gave evidence of Europeans comparing the areas to their own, now you are speculating.

      Obviously differences exist between different societies, but to simply say “Backward” or “Advance” on details is endless.

      This isn’t limited to Sub Saharan Africa.

      China- Had and still has superstitions (see how their peer review makes traditional medicine more effective than it is in Western) , and my link in the article on surviving forms of “barbarity”.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture#Efficacy

      They likewise never made a printing press or guns like Europeans did with their technology, and still used simpler methods.

      MesoAmericans basically stayed in Antiquity level development prior to Europeans. They were likewise described as “Savage” despite their technology, see RR’s recent article .

      Northern Native Americans were only increasingly sedentary in the Middle Ages.

      Similar to all of these points, you only focused on a fraction of my article’s points, which comes down to pedantry on Scripts, use of stone, and remarks of European explorers.

      I respond on points of soil quality affecting intensification, trade being used to produce cities, alternative means to perform function of scripts, and the obvious utility of Mud and wood for their lifestyles.

      “Another thing is that a lot of the time, people in those days wanted to told stories about strange and great things far away all the time to impress their fellow countrymen when they would return and sell stories.”

      True, except that doesn’t explain how logically how it attracted attentions for centuries by travelers if the more that arrive the more they get exposed.

      Given the amount contact they received post encounter, I would take the word of someone actually there then someone who thinks the following-

      Writing increases population density.
      Using Wood and Mud inherently means backwardness despite what they natives use it for.
      Shifting Cultivation is “primitive”, except it was used continuously throughout Eurasia as well, and was a reflection of the adaptiveness of it. See here.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shifting_cultivation

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      Since you mentioned European Mud huts, I guess I’m going to have to educate you on that matter to.

      https://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/peasant-houses-in-midland-england.htm

      Here’s some pictures of some the higher quality “Mud huts”. These were higher quality than originally assumed, they were once thought to be that of Aristocrats.

      Now compared to the Ashanti.

      http://www.lisapoyakama.org/la-brillante-architecture-de-lempire-ashanti-2/

      https://historum.com/threads/african-architecture-of-the-ashanti-very-particular.67141/

      Now, not only can anyone who is honest can not the obvious aesthetic, scale, and functional differences between the two types of architecture.

      Bowdich goes into detail on the process, hence prompting the Gothic comparison based on a paper he read on it.

      Now something I’ve also should’ve mentioned was that another feature of Yoruba Urban spaces where large moats.

      https://scholarworks.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6556&context=etd

      Like

  3. George_s says:

    (I’m remaking the message because the quotes didn’t format well, you can remove the wrong one in moderation)

    Weil (2014),

    … wrote a lot of non-sense.

    Cameroon and Nigeria eastward along the coast and the Niger River. In this latter region, the available measures show a level of development just below or sometimes equal to that in the belt of Eurasia running from Japan and China, through South Asia and the Middle East, into Europe.

    Yeah, no. WHAT is “”””””sometimes””””””equal? Great Zimbabwe, one of the greatest architectural development in Sub-Saharan Africa, built in medieval times, is more primitive and less sophisticated than European developments from 1500 B.C.E, like the stone works of Su Nuraxi. This is a gap of almost 2 milleniums. So let’s just stop with the non-sense. Sub-Saharans were not “sometimes equal” in anything with Eurasia, wether it be architecture, agriculture, technology, bureaucracy, urbanization, literature, political system, or anything that has to do with development really.

    Depending on the index used, West Africa was above or below the level of development in the Northern Andes and Mexico.

    “Above or below”? Okay. But no. It doesn’t mean anything. It seems to me that Weil is just making assumptions and that nothing he says is grounded in empirical evidences. This Weil guy is a joke and this was just an unsourced and obviously ridiculous quote that claims West Africa was “just below or equal” to the major civilizations of the Old World. Total non-sense.

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    • Phil78 says:

      See my other comment since you’ve seen to have repeated yourself.

      Using Economic Growth, Africa is also shown to be comparable to other pre-industrial nations. The Gap then was obviously smaller.

      So, if anything, that is consistent with Weil.

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  4. RaceRealist says:

    Phil,

    Anthropologist Scott Maceachern eviscerated Rushton’s bullshit on Africa (the Bible of “HBD”, Race, Evolution, and Behavior):

    Africanist archaeology and ancient IQ: racial science and cultural evolution in the 21st century

    This paper presents the juxtaposition of two data sets, one archaeological and one behavioural and psychometric. It is now a commonplace in the comparative psychometric literature to claim that low IQ test scores among African populations indicate severely diminished average intelligence among those populations. Rushton (2000) places these claims in a behavioural and evolutionary context, one paralleled by similar explanations applied to poor and relatively powerless populations in other parts of the world and supplemented by data of other kinds. Rushton’s model posits quite major behavioural differences among the different continental populations, and especially between tropical African populations and the inhabitants of temperate and Arctic Eurasia. The magnitude of these differences is such that they should be detectable archaeologically, and indeed Rushton presents archaeological evidence that he believes bolsters his case. His archaeological interpretations are for the most part obsolete and/or erroneous.

    Like

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