anthracology; charcoal analysis; radiocarbon dating; taxonomical identification; temporal framework; anthropogenic disturbances; Central Africa; Cameroon; Republic of the Congo; archaeology; human settlements; slash-and-burn agriculture; colonial period
[en] In comparison with the wood charcoals uncovered in the soils of the temperate regions, charcoals from the tropical regions remain little studied yet, in particular those from the dense humid forests of Central Africa. Here we aim at showing the interest of the analysis of soil charcoals so as to understand the current environments through some examples of taxonomical identifications conducted on charcoals sampled in several soil pits in Cameroon and in the Republic of the Congo. These charcoals were hand-split then observed under an incident light microscope. The anatomical features that are hold in the charcoals and described according to a standard method were compared to wood samples from the reference collection of the RMCA. Results demonstrated that the identified species are still present in the vegetal environment today and that only limited changes occurred over the past two millennia. Charcoal analysis can thus allow a better understanding of the past history of the forests in relationship with the ancient disturbances. The temporal and spatial framework of human settlements as well as the impact of the colonial period on the evolution of the forest is also discussed.
Archaeology Life sciences: Multidisciplinary, general & others Environmental sciences & ecology History
Author, co-author :
Morin-Rivat, Julie ; Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Laboratoire de Foresterie des régions trop. et subtropicales