Nikolas Gestrich

Tongo Maaré Diabal: Social archaeology of a settlement in the Gourma region of Mali, c. AD 1000 - 1200

Nikolas is working on the archaeology of West Africa in the late first/early second millennium AD. Particularly, he is focussing on issues of social organisation and identity during the time of the early empires on the Middle Niger, and their expression in the archaeological record. The research project has involved carrying out open-area excavations at Tongo Maaré Diabal, a site near Douentza in Mali. The findings from these excavations are examined to assess the expression of social boundaries both within the settlement and regionally, to shed light on the nature and development of society during this exciting time in Africa’s past.

Funding organisation

  • Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Tweedie Exploration Fellowship


 Educational background

  • BA, Archaeology, University of Durham, 2007
  • MA, Archaeology, UCL, 2008

Conference Papers:

AARD 2008, York: “Pottery through time and space at Tongo Maaré Diabal, Mali”

AARD 2010, Cambridge: “Recent excavations at Tongo Maaré Diabal, Mali”

Urbanism in Africa Colloqium, Yale University, 2011: “The town and the city: Societies on the margins of the urbanised Middle Niger during the 1st millennium AD”

  • View of the Dyoundé escarpment from Tongo Maaré Diabal

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