▪ Abstract 

This review explores recent research that moves away from conventional preoccupations with origins and independent innovation in African Iron Age archaeology. Critiques of cultural evolutionary formulations and empirically robust case studies combine to shape new concerns with the following: the variable expressions of complexity in time and space; the mosaic quality of social, political economic, and technological landscapes; and the effects of global entanglements over the last millennium. Ongoing research in western and eastern Africa highlights the dynamism of political economic arrangements over the last two millennia and reminds us that configurations enshrined in twentieth-century ethnography represent but a moment in the dynamic history of African societies.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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