Jenne-Jeno, Archaeology of

  • Roderick J. McIntoshEmail author
Living reference work entry


Jenne-jeno is an ancient city in the Middle Niger floodplain of the Niger River in present-day Mali. It was the first indigenous city recognized in Africa south of the Sahara, contradicting the long-held assumption that African cities were initially colonies of or in some way stimulated by Greco-Roman, Punic, or Egyptian urbanism north of the desert. It is the signature African site in one of many urban landscapes around the world that have pressed in new dimensions the debate about the degree to which centrally organized, hierarchical or horizontally organized, “distributed” cities deal better with resilience, sustainability, and demographic expansion (Anderson and Rathbone 2000; Crumley 1979). Jenne-jeno is one of scores of specialist-occupied settlements, separate but clustered together in an original city plan labeled the Jenne-jeno Urban Cluster. Notable also is the lack of evidence to date for kings, state apparatus, and indeed for a hierarchical power structure....

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna Marie Prentiss
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe University of MontanaMissoulaUSA