The example of Tyi
From 2008 to 2010, research has been undertaken on the history of Dogon settlement 70 km southwest of Ounjougou at Tyi, known as one of the earliest center of establishment of the Tomo clan. This history takes us from their installation at the top of the escarpment, probably at the end of the 16th century to the establishment of the current village at the foot of the escarpment in the mid-20th century, with a significant diaspora on the Séno Plain from the late 17th century.
Field survey, guided by the Elders born on the upper site, enabled us to map settlement quarters, sites linked to craft activities, burials, ritual or religious places, fortifications, sources of raw materials, etc. Archaeological excavations were done in two different quarters: on a concession and two ceramic middens. Gathering of oral traditions at Tyi and villages in the diaspora was done to better understand the dynamics of migrations and to clarify historical and social facts.
Finally,we had the opportunity to document the production process for terracotta pipes, made by the last craftsman in the region with this skill, and thus to enrich the interpretation of archaeological artifacts of this type found at the site of Tyi, where they were produced (M. Canetti, Master’s degree ; see list of dissertations).
The study of archaeological ceramics at the level of production and consumption contributed to inform us on changes in styles and socioeconomic interactions.
Analysis of burnt fuel from the ceramic middens shows changes in the landscape over four centuries, with a shift from a gallery forest to an agro-forest park at karité prior to the establishment of a savanna park at Faidherbia albida, typical of the region today (B. Eichhorn, University of Frankfurt). Zooarchaeological analysis of the fauna has also yielded interesting results regarding meat consumption, waste management and taphonomy (I. Colaizzi, Master’s degree ; see list of dissertations). Finally, archaeometric analyses of the clays coming from mines, pipes and pottery (N. Cantin, IRAMAT, University of Bordeaux 3), show changes over time in strategies of raw material use and the circulation of products.