East & Southern Africa


There are currently active sites in Kenya. Information will be added as it becomes available.


In collaboration with the Université de Toliara’s Centre de Documentation et de Recherche sur l’Art/Archéologie et la Tradition Orale de Madagascar, Yale Archaeology is contributing to our understanding of the human colonization of Madagascar, with an emphasis on the interaction between humans and their environment in the southwest region of the island.

The Morombe Archaeological Project (M.A.P.), directed by Yale PhD Candidate Kristina Douglass, is investigating the relationship between humans and the environment at coastal sites in the southwest, and seeks to clarify the interaction between humans and the island’s extinct giant elephant birds. Through fieldwork at several archaeological sites, the M.A.P. project has collected the largest excavated sample of elephant bird eggshell, offering new insights into human impact on the birds. An emerging project, directed by Yale PhD Student Tanambelo Rasolondrainy, investigates the early settlement of the Middle Onilahy River, in order to understand the impact of human arrival on riverine landscapes of the interior. This research will hopefully speak to the larger debate concerning the ancestry of the initial immigrants to Madagascar for which both African and Austronesian origins have been posited. Both projects speak to larger debates about Madagascar’s human colonization, human impact on island ecologies, and processes of social, environmental and climate change in Madagascar.

South Africa

Yale archaeology is a participant in the University of Pretoria’s human response to climate change project, the “Limpopo Corridor Palaeoclimate Program”, which for us has meant a significant contribution to evolving human — animal relations. However, more broadly, Yale archaeologists have looked at how southern African peoples participated in the larger southwestern Indian Ocean exchange and migratory networks, South Africa in this context can be considered to be a vast and fluid frontier of contact, trade, and the emergence of complex polities. Fluid frontiers, human response to environmental challenges and opportunities, and the emergence of complex societies are themes that links Yale research here with that going on in Mali and Senegal. Lastly, South Africa is one of three sites of archaeomagnetism research (the others being Peru and Senegal), in this case the high resolution determination of changing intensity of the earth’s field — a topic of intense interest to geophysicists as South Africa fronts the earth’s most significant surface magnetic trough, the Southern Atlantic Anomaly.