Mapping Food Production in Hyper Arid and Arid Saharan Africa in the Holocene. A View from the Present

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Carla Lancelotti, Stefano Biagetti

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: drylands; land use; aridity index; ethnography; ethnoarchaeology; pastoralism; agriculture; LandCover6K

The reconstruction of land use practices in hyper arid Saharan Africa is often hampered by the accuracy of the available tools and by unconscious biases that see these areas as marginal and inhospitable. Considered for a long time the living space of pastoral mobile communities, new research is showing of agriculture might have been more important in these areas than previously thought. In this paper, after a review of present-day land use strategies in Saharan Africa, we show how ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological data can offer us a different point of view and help in better defining land use and food production strategies in this area. Ultimately, these insights can be integrated into the ongoing effort of reconstructing past land use globally.

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