Divergent pathways to early food production and early complex societies: archaeozoological data from northeastern Africa

At the base of the project are archaeozoological data collected at Holocene sites in Egypt and Sudan. Remains of all groups of vertebrates, but mainly fish and mammals, as well as mollusc shells are being studied. The analyses are only possible thanks to the reference collections of recent skeletons of African animals at the RBINS. The project also includes fieldwork, consisting mainly of analyses on the spot of animal remains, especially for Egypt where any export of archaeological material is prohibited. Field stays are also important to better understand the sites and their environmental setting.

The project has four major research themes:

  1. the early history of domesticated cattle in Africa,
  2. the regional variation in early food production,
  3. elite and elite control over food provisioning in Predynastic and early Dynastic Egypt,
  4. the impact of early food production on the natural environment.

The scientific output of the project consists of contributions to site reports, of which the archaeologists are first author, and (journal) papers, of which I am first author. The aim is also to enter all generated faunal data in the database for archaeozoologists, Ossobook, that is being developed in the framework of the European BIOARCH network and that should facilitate direct exchange of data between researchers. 


  • Linseele, V. 2012. Animal remains from the Early Holocene sequence at Wadi El-Arab. Kerma 4, 16-18.
  • Linseele, V. 2013. Early stock keeping in northeastern Africa. Near Eastern influences and local developments. In: Shirai, N. (ed.). Neolithisation of Northeastern Africa. Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment 16. Berlin: Ex Oriente, pp. 97-108.
Related media(s)
Veerle Linseele excavating in Middle Egypt
Internal member(s)
Wim Van Neer
Wim Wouters
Other member(s)
Veerle Linseele (KUL, Belgium)
Matthieu Honegger (University of Neuchatel, Switzerland)
Donatella Usai (Instituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente, Italy)
Willeke Wendrich (UCLA, USA)
Harco Willems (KUL, Belgium)
FWO-Flanders postdoc
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