In other parts of Africa, architecture is often made of mud, which disintegrates if not periodically repaired. Objects of carved stone, fired clay, and cast metals do not disintegrate so easily, and when carefully recovered from archaeological sites, provide some of our best evidence for the sophistication of ancient African kingdoms. This terracotta equestrian figure from the Middle Niger River, for example, could provide valuable clues about the establishment of ancient kingdoms such as Mali in the 12th or 13th centuries (CE or A.D.). The use of cavalry was important in the establishment of several kingdoms and empires in this Sahel region of West Africa, and figures such as this must reflect their existence. Many of the Middle Niger terracottas date from the founding of Mali, but as none of the equestrians have been found in an archaeological context (rather than from looted site), we may never be able to make the connection.