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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Archaeology and historical linguistics have been crucial for the reconstruction of pre-colonial African history, as these two disciplines offer complementary approaches to societies of the past. Despite being fundamentally distinct, they do in fact share a number of key principles and concepts, such as stratigraphy, seriation, geographic distribution, and time-depth. This chapter offers an outline of these shared principles and their interpretation with reference to the Bantu Expansion, which was the main linguistic, cultural, and demographic process in Late Holocene Africa. The chapter also provides some thoughts on what a judicious interdisciplinary archaeo-linguistic approach to the African past might look like.

Keywords: archaeology, historical linguistics, Bantu Expansion, African history, stratigraphy, seriation, geographic distribution, time-depth, interdisciplinary

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