Archaeology of Rule

By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles

Sometimes the archaeological evidence conflicts with the oral testimony. Among Luba, for example, high-status burials have been found containing sumptuous grave goods and evidence of advanced metalworking technologies as early as the ninth-century A.D. Certain of the grave goods show cultural continuity in the area for more than 1,500 years. Yet, oral traditions state that Luba royalty was imported from the east sometime in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. How to reconcile the material and oral records is one of the challenges of African historiography.