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West Africa

Benin Bronze plaque. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain.

Western Reactions to the Controversial Benin Bronzes (Video)

In the closing years of the 19th century, an extraordinary exhibit in London showcased the art of a culture considered foreign and "savage" by the prevailing Western mindset. This exhibit consisted...
Shea butter making in Ghana. Source: nomadphotographs / Adobe Stock.

Women's Gold: The Shea Butter Makers of Ghana (Video)

For centuries, women in West Africa have been turning shea nuts into butter, known as "women's gold", as it is the only source of income for many families in northern Ghana . However, the biggest...
Ancient Koumbi Saleh, a busy center of trade. Source: dasom/Adobe Stock

Gold, Salt, and Islam: The Story of Koumbi Saleh

Koumbi Saleh was one of the most important economic centers in West Africa during its peak around the 9th century. This wealthy trade city was once a hub of economic activity, with trade, agriculture...
The ancient storyteller known as a griot uses their voice, sounds and music to tell stories about the past.  Source: tomalu/AdobeStock

Singer-Storytellers: The Griot Tradition in West Africa

Griots, also known as jeli or bards , are traditional West African storytellers who have played a crucial role in preserving the oral history and cultural heritage of their communities for centuries...
Horsemen of Oyo charging into battle was said to have been both terrifying and awe-inspiring.   Source: (djfdez by Adobetock)

The Warriors Who Shaped African History: The Horsemen of Oyo

The Horsemen of Oyo were legendary warriors who served the Oyo Empire of West Africa. Known for their equestrian skills and bravery in battle, they played a crucial role in expanding the empire and...
Nok Culture Pottery Reveals Honey Hunting Happened 3,500 Years Ago

Nok Culture Pottery Reveals Honey Hunting Happened 3,500 Years Ago

Honey hunting is a practice of gathering honey from domesticated or wild bee colonies and hives. It is a practice for which evidence has been found in ancient history and it is still practiced by...
Multiple burial in Vilnius, Lithuania containing an individual infected with both plague and yaws. Source: Courtesy of Robertas Zukovskis and Scientific Reports.

Evidence Syphilis Did Not Arrive In Europe With Columbus Expedition

Mass burials are common remnants of the many plague outbreaks that ravaged medieval Europe . A number of these graveyards are well documented in historical sources, but the locations of most, and the...
Production of salt for the salt trade.

When Salt Was Traded for Gold: The Salt Trade of West Africa that Built Kingdoms and Spread Culture

In West Africa during the Medieval period, salt was traded for gold. This may seem astonishing as salt is a cheap commodity in today’s society. It may be added that salt is easily available today...
Squirrels – ancient messengers from the underworld (Public Domain) and squirrel tracks

Squirrel! Fuzzy Messengers from the Ancient Underworld? The Little-Known Archetype in Mythology

When it comes to archetypal spirit guides, often the focus is upon ferocious guardians and large, intimidating beasts. However, one of the most important, yet overlooked animals in world mythology is...
One of the satellite photographs clearly showing the vast amount of inscriptive material discovered by Archaeoastronomer, William James Veall, on the South Atlantic coastline of Uruguay, South America.

Sea-Farers from the Levant: Do Ancient Inscriptions Rewrite History of the Americas? - Part 2

In this opinion piece exploring proto-Sinaitic inscriptions, guest writer William James Veall challenges the view that Christopher Columbus was the first foreigner to set foot in the Americas by...