Bernard Clist

Bernard Clist
Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAF) Paris France · & Collège de France

PhD Université Libre de Bruxelles

About

96
Publications
30,046
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1,035
Citations
Citations since 2016
49 Research Items
631 Citations
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Introduction
Research interests: Neolithic villages expansion between before 3000 and 2300 BP, from Cameroon around the Sanaga river towards the Congo river and Angola. Later spreading of iron metallurgy through Central Africa. Social changes leading to the development of complex societies, or kingdoms. Interaction between the villagers and their changing environments.

Publications

Publications (96)
Book
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Hace más de 40.000 años, las poblaciones de cazadores-colectores utilizando la piedra para sus herramientas se instalan en Guinea Ecuatorial en las provincias continentales de Centro Sur, Kie-Ntem, Litoral y Wele-Nzas. Algunos descubrimientos de piedras talladas en las islas de Bioko, Corisco y Elobey sugieren que también se asentaron allí más tard...
Preprint
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We present the first review of all the Pleistocene and Holocene dates from Central Africa using a corpus of 1707 14C and TL assays from 603 archaeological sites published in the grey and academic literature. With this contextualized database, we outline the irregular dynamics of research in space and time that seriously impacted the end result of p...
Chapter
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Archaeological research carried out in West-Central Africa shows evidence for multiple, complex material cultures, suggesting various levels of human admixtures in the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene. Though the picture we present here is based on research of heterogeneous quality and irregular geographical coverage in a vast area (roughly equiva...
Article
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Pottery traditions reflect the socioeconomic framework of past cultures, while the spatial distribution of pottery indicates exchange patterns and interaction processes. Material and earth sciences are employed here to determine raw material sourcing, selection and processing. The Kongo kingdom, internationally renowned since the late fifteenth cen...
Preprint
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There is a broad agreement that towards the end of the Holocene in Central Africa there was a drier “Late Holocene Forest Crisis” (LHFC) that impacted the Central African rainforest between c. 2500-2000 cal BP. This climate-driven LHFC has been thought to have led to the expansion of savanna that colonized previously forested lands. A relationship...
Preprint
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The Rivière Denis archaeological site is located in Gabon close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Equator. The studied pottery indicates it is part of a series of pre-metallurgical sites located in southern Cameroon and Gabon. The integration of paleo-environmental evidence, of soil analysis and pottery typology enables the authors to suggest the “Neol...
Preprint
This article reviews all the literature about the use of radiocarbon dates to estimate and follow ancient demography in Central Africa. We highlight some of the major biases impacting research. The catalog created lists radiocarbon dates since before 50,000 years ago. We follow ‘longue durée’ demographics through the Late Pleistocene, the Holocene,...
Chapter
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The sequence obtained mainly from the 2012-2015 excavations at Ngongo Mbata (Lower Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo) illustrates the earliest types of locally made clay and stone pipes used throughout the 17th century in the Kongo kingdom. These are also found at the same time in the capital Mbanza Kongo. Using ancient texts, allows us to place...
Chapter
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Between 2012 and 2015, excavations were carried out at the Kindoki, Mbata Kulunsi and Ngongo Mbata sites in Lower Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo), part of the northern provinces of the old Kongo kingdom. In all of them burials were studied, some of them yielding Christian artefacts produced in Europe. All of them are described in this book cha...
Chapter
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Our study presents the new typo-chronological framework for pottery in the northern provinces of the Kongo kingdom, from the 13th to the 19th century. The changes that pottery undergoes during this period seem to reflect, to a certain extent, the social and political evolution of the Kongo kingdom. Even if this still needs to be clarified in both t...
Chapter
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Two fragments of church bells were found during the 2013 and 2014 excavations of the major Ngongo Mbata site in Lower Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo. The larger one was found at the bottom of a large pit whose filling is radiocarbon dated to AD 1613-1667. A fragment of a Portuguese 'garafa' also found in the pit can have its production period...
Chapter
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The paper presents the 3,739 beads found during excavations carried out between 2012 and 2015 in the Lower-Congo region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of them are coming from two sites, Kindoki and Ngongo Mbata. We also studied the 273 beads from the 1938 excavations of the Ngongo Mbata 17th century church. All the beads relate to the Ko...
Chapter
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Paul Dubrunfaut, curator at the Royal Army and Military History Museum of Brussels (Belgium), studies two guns found by Bernard Clist during archaeological excavations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in Gabon. Though thousands of European made guns were exported to Africa since the end of the 15th century, archaeological finds are rar...
Article
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Published by Science Advances, 13 May 2021 - Response to the published paper “Seidensticker (D.), Hubau (W.), Verschuren (D.), Fortes-Lima (C.), de Maret (P.), Schlebusch (C.M.) & Bostoen (K.), 2021, Population collapse in Congo rainforest from 400 CE urges reassessment of the Bantu Expansion, Science Advances, Published online: 12 February 2021, V...
Article
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Response to the published paper “Seidensticker (D.), Hubau (W.), Verschuren (D.), Fortes-Lima (C.), de Maret (P.), Schlebusch (C.M.) & Bostoen (K.), 2021, Population collapse in Congo rainforest from 400 CE urges reassessment of the Bantu Expansion, Science Advances, Published online: 12 February 2021, Vol. 7, no. 7.” Submitted to Science Advances...
Article
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Off the coast of Cameroon, Bioko Island was populated by the Bubi at an early stage of the Bantu expansion, although surprisingly they did not use iron until the arrival of the Europeans much later. Unfortunately, despite some research having been undertaken, mostly during the Spanish colonial period, the local archaeological sequence remains poorl...
Article
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Africa hosts the greatest human genetic diversity globally, but legacies of ancient population interactions and dispersals across the continent remain understudied. Here, we report genome-wide data from 20 ancient sub-Saharan African individuals, including the first reported ancient DNA from the DRC, Uganda, and Botswana. These data demonstrate the...
Article
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Cet article présente l’étude archéo-anthropologique des vestiges de Ngongo Mbata (XVII-XVIIIèmes siècles), site majeur de l’ancien royaume de Kongo. Les tombes installées dans l’église ont été fouillées entre 1938 et 1942. La collection Bequaert, constituée d’une partie des individus exhumés en 1938, est aujourd’hui conservée à l’Institut Royal des...
Article
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Though Internet began in 1989, it was not until 1993 that the world-wide web started to expand, still limited to research and higher education centers. The publication in 1998 in issue 72 of the Nouvelles de l’archéologie of the first texts promoting the first archaeology contents is recounted, while the situation of the use of Internet in France a...
Article
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This article presents the first detailed account of a previously unknown Early Iron Age pottery group from the Kongo Central Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ceramic group is named Kitala ware, after the site where it was first discovered, and excavated in 2014 and 2015. Dated between cal AD 230 and 524 at Kitala, the ware is also...
Article
The glass bead assemblages recovered during the 2014 excavations of the ruins of Kulumbimbi located in Mbanza Kongo (Angola) were analyzed by means of a multi-analytical minimally invasive methodology, which includes handheld X-ray fluorescence (hXRF), variable pressure scanning electron microscope coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry...
Chapter
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La séquence obtenue grâce essentiellement aux fouilles de Ngongo Mbata (République Démocratique du Congo) illustre les types les plus anciens de pipes en terre cuite et en pierre qui sont utilisées pendant tout le 17e siècle au royaume de Kongo. Celles-ci sont aussi utilisées au même moment dans la capitale Mbanza Kongo. La confrontation des témoig...
Article
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In 2015 the KongoKing research project team excavated the Bu, Kindu and Mantsetsi sites situated in the Kongo-Central Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). All are part of the Kay Ladio Group. This is the first detailed publication on this cultural group, to which no contemporary ones can currently be linked, either from the Atlantic...
Book
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De tous les grands royaumes qui fleurirent en Afrique, le royaume Kongo est l’un des plus célèbres. Il reste une référence historique et culturelle importante pour les Africains et leur diaspora. Entraînés très tôt dans le commerce de traite, les esclaves originaires de la région font que du Brésil à New York, en passant par les Caraïbes, la cultur...
Article
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Nous présentons l’étude anthropologique de dix individus provenant d’un cimetière situé sur la colline de Kindoki au Kongo central (RDC). Ils ont été exhumés en 2012 et 2013 dans le cadre du projet KongoKing qui consistait en une approche interdisciplinaire de l’histoire ancienne du royaume Kongo. Ce cimetière contient des inhumations datées du XVI...
Chapter
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Dans ce chapitre nous présentons la synthèse des résultats des recherches archéologiques réalisées au cours du projet KongoKing subdivisée en deux époques : l’Âge du Fer Ancien d’une part et, d’autre part, l’Âge du Fer Récent qui inclut la période historique du royaume Kongo. Nous présentons alors un nouveau bilan du développement du royaume Kongo...
Article
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Intheframeworkofthe inter-disciplinary KongoKing project, a set of beads from archaeological excavations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was analysed by means of a minimally invasive, multi-analytical approach based on micro-Raman spectroscopy. The full characterization of the materials, including glassy network, opacifiers and colorizers,...
Article
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SPACES OF CORRELATION - The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo. By Cécile Fromont. Chapel Hill, NC: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Va. by the University of North Carolina Press, 2014. Pp. xviii + 283. $45, hardback (ISBN 978-1-4696-1871-5). - Volume 57 Issu...
Article
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Raman spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis are commonly applied to archaeological objects as a fast and nondestructive way to characterize the materials. Here, micro-Raman spectroscopy and chemometrics on handheld XRF results were used to completely characterize beads found during archaeological excavations in the Congo. Metallic obje...
Article
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We present results, analyses, and an in-depth historical contextualization of the fieldwork undertaken in 2012 and 2013 at the Kindoki site in the Lower Congo (DRC). This site is linked to Mbanza Nsundi, one of the Kongo Kingdom’s provincial capitals, which turns out to be archaeologically ‘elusive’. Pinpointing its location proved to be particular...
Article
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Nous présentons ici les résultats des fouilles archéologiques entreprises à Kindoki (Bas-Congo/RDC) en 2012-2013. Ce site est associé à Mbanza Nsundi, l’une des capitales provinciales du royaume Kongo. Localiser ses vestiges archéologiques s’est avéré être un vrai défi. Pour ce faire, nous avons développé une méthodologie de fouilles qui s’inspire...
Article
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Ngongo Mbata, the main and most affluent center of the Kongo kingdom’s Mbata province in the seventeenth century, is well known from the historical sources, but virtually unexplored in archaeological publications. Ngongo Mbata is unique in that it hosted a monumental stone building about which the historical record remains silent. This makes it par...
Article
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This article reviews evidence from biogeography, palynology, geology, historical linguistics, and archaeology and presents a new synthesis of the paleoclimatic context in which the early Bantu expansion took place. Paleoenvironmental data indicate that a climate crisis affected the Central African forest block during the Holocene, first on its peri...
Article
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The ancient Kingdom of Kongo originated in Central Africa in the 14th century. In the 15th century, the Portuguese organized tight contacts with the Bakongo. From then on European goods gained new significance in the local culture and even found their way into funerary rites. Among the most important grave goods in the Kingdom of Kongo were shell a...
Article
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In order to understand the links between copper exploitation and the origins of the Kongo and Teke kingdoms, the areas around Mindouli and Mbé in the Republic of Congo have been surveyed. Several sites with remains of copper metallurgy have been found in the vicinity of Mindouli. Two of them have been test excavated. These results and the prelimina...
Article
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Analysis of charcoal from an archaeological assemblage near the Lukula community located at the southernmost boundary of the Mayombe forest (Bas-Congo, DRC) yielded 30 taxa used as firewood between 1,200 and 700 cal. b.p. Local people mentioned 71 taxa preferred for use nowadays. The identified taxa belong either to mature rainforest, pioneer fores...
Article
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In order to understand the origins of the Kongo kingdom, the KongoKing research group conducted a first survey in the area usually regarded as the former kingdom’s provincial capital sites of Mbanza Nsundi and Mbanza Mbata in the Lower Congo Province of the DRC during the summer of 2012. Several test excavations and radiocarbon dates are starting t...
Chapter
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This paper reviews the 14C dates associated with early iron smelting in Central Africa before 1900 BP. All of the archaeological sites from which these early dates have been obtained are critically examined. For example, each dated sample is checked for its stratigraphic integrity, its degree of association with dated artefacts, and its associated...
Article
Full-text available
In order to understand the links between copper exploitation and the origins of the Kongo and Teke kingdoms, the areas around Mindouli and Mbé in the Republic of Congo have been surveyed. Several sites with remains of copper metallurgy have been found in the vicinity of Mindouli. Two of them have been test excavated. These results and the prelimina...
Article
Full-text available
Bayon et al. (Reports, 9 March 2012, p. 1219) interpreted unusually high aluminum-potassium ratio values in an Atlantic sediment core as indicating anthropogenic deforestation around 2500 years before the present (B.P.). We argue that there is no terrestrial evidence for forest destruction by humans and that the third millennium B.P. rainforest cri...
Article
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A synthesis of archaeological research in and around the Kongo kingdom is outlined. It is shown that publications dealing with the Late Iron Age are few in number for a time segment which saw the birth and development of such social complexity as the Kongo kingdom. A general picture of Late Iron Age ceramic groups in Lower-Congo is drawn. One of th...
Article
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E. Zangato’s 2007 book on the Oboui archaeological site in the Central African Republic has been read and commented. This contextualised reading leads to questioning some of the data published in the Journal of African Archaeology in 2010. At that time a very old date for the earliest iron smelting south of the Sahara was suggested. However, a deta...