Coring Lake Fati and Settlement Archaeology of the Middle Niger Lakes Region

Peter R. Coutros, Peter M.J. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A two-part archaeological and limnological study of the Malian Lakes Region has revealed the high research potential of the region. The exploratory reconnaissance of the Gorbi Valley, on the eastern edge of Lake Fati, identified, mapped and sampled eight new sites. The results of the survey suggest a long duration occupation of the Gorbi Valley, as well as possible connections with the populations of the Inland Niger Delta and southeastern Mauritania. The Lake Fati core represents the first lake sediment core from the western Sahel. This 5.4 m sediment core contains a continuous record of lake mud from 10.43 to 4.66 kyr BP. Analysis of the core reveals that Al and Si abundances are decoupled following a deposition of 16 cm of sand at 4.5 ka BP, with Al decreasing and Si increasing rapidly. This period of sand deposition is significantly younger than that of the transition at 5.5 ka BP recorded in marine cores from ODP site 658, taken off the Mauritanian coast, potentially extending the timeframe in which dune systems were stable and lake systems were at their highstand. While highlighting the need for more localized climate chronologies and archaeological investigations, this study may shed light on circumstances surrounding the initial colonization and further development of the Lakes Region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-266
Number of pages18
JournalAfrican Archaeological Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 26 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Mali
  • Middle Niger
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Sahel
  • Sediment core
  • West Africa

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