Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Djenné-Jeno, Ancient City

Just 2km from the town of Djenné lies the ancient town of Djenné-Jeno - site of the original Djenné. Although it is difficult to see much more than some remnants of the handmade bricks of a building and tons of pottery shards, the site is the oldest known sub-saharan city - dating back to the third century BC. A highly developed society of about 10,000 inhabitants, the site was mysteriously abandoned in the 14th century. Archaeological excavations reveal a highly urbanized society with domestication of animals and iron production as early as 900 BC. Djenné-Jeno is known for its excellent rice cultivation, signature mud brick architecture, and its finely crafted sculpture, of which I purchased replicas (pictured above). 
Prior to visiting the site, we went to the Mission Culturelle, where we saw informative displays including examples of pottery, sculptures, and iron, which helped give an idea of what was discovered at the site in 1977. Although pottery shards dotted the ground at the archaeological site, it was expressly forbidden to remove any of them. Djenné-Jeno has long been a site for looting, with sculptures, pottery, and beads being some of the items taken.

No comments: