Bandafassi Regional Archaeological Project (BRAP)
Cameron Gokee (Appalachian State University) initiated the project with two weeks of archaeological reconnaissance at villages across the Bandafassi Arrondissement of southeastern Senegal. Core members of the field crew included IFAN-UCAD students Djiby Tamba and Massar Sarr, chauffeur Tamsir “Le Commandant” Maiga, and local guides Mamadou Diallo (Bandafassi) and Jean-Pierre Camara (Andiel). Funding came from a Multi-Country Research Fellowship from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), with in-country support from the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar.
Cameron Gokee and Matthew Kroot directed a four-week archaeological field school sponsored by the Institute for Field Research, bringing together nine students from universities in the US and Senegal and local guide Felix Keita (Tenkoto). Research focused on systematic survey around the Bandafassi Plateau and excavations at the sites of Yoro Moussou and Heramakonon. Supplemental funding for this field season came from the University Research Council at Appalachian State University.
Fieldwork involved two weeks of systematic survey of different geographical zones within 5-6 km of the Bandafassi Plateau, as well as a test run of geophysical prospection (magnetic susceptibility) at two ancestral Bedik settlements. The field crew included Cameron Gokee, Aimé Kantoussan (Musée des Civilisations Noires), two IFAN-UCAD students Lamine Badji and Ibrahima Sy, and local guides Marc Keita (Ethiowar) and Harouna Diallo (Daande). Funding was provided by Appalachian State University.
Beginning with a three-week season in April-May, Gokee teamed up with assistant field director Fodé Diakho (IFAN-UCAD) for systematic survey along the west bank of the Gambia River. During a subsequent four-week season in November-December, Kèlètigui Doukouré (Université Julius Nyéréré de Kankan, Guinea) led reconnaissance to document oral histories and heritage sites across the region, while Gokee and Diakho directed shovel-testing and test excavations at five sites around the modern villages of Nathia, Andiel, Ethiowar, and Itato. For the final week of fieldwork, Dana Drake Rosenstein (University of Arizona) also joined the team to collect ceramic and soil samples from these sites for thermoluminescence (TL) dating. Additional personnel included eleven graduate students from IFAN-UCAD, the University of Chicago, and the University of South Carolina, and the fifteen local men who assisted with excavations. Funding for this stage of the project came largely from the US National Science Foundation (BCS#1842204), with supplemental support from Appalachian State University.
Beginning in 2022, Matthew Kroot (Arizona State University) will take over the directorship of this project…