The excavation work

Oursi hu-beero was chosen for excavation for three reasons. First, the site has suffered from erosion associated with rapid incision. Numbers of deeply incised gullies approach the site, making immediate action indispensable. Second, architectural features are very scarce in African History and the site provides a unique opportunity for the study of early construction works. That the excavation would reveal, additionally, an almost intact inventory and walls up to a height of 1.50m could not be expected at the beginning of the work. It should be noted at the outset that the complex of Oursi hu-beero, although it is considered to be part of a settlement mound, belongs to a single phase. And third, the site seemed suitable for closing the gap between archaeology and history, between static objects and written sources.

Excavation work

Two bins with broken pottery

During the winter months of 2000 and 2001 a team of archaeologists, assisted by villagers of the modern village of Oursi, excavated the remains of the complex and its surprising content. Carefully, the team members separated the hard-fired destruction debris and the intact inventory with small dentist tools and brushes. Despite the heat and the strong Harmattan-wind they were able to encounter minuscule evidence of the life of the inhabitants.