Citation Laïbi R, N'Dah D & Adderley P (2019) Landforms, Hydrography and Vegetation. In: Haour A (ed.) Two Thousand Years in Dendi, Northern Benin: Archaeology, History and Memory. Journal of African Archaeology Monograph, v 13. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 31-40. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004376694_007
Abstract First paragraph: Using the long-established layer concept (Landerkundliche Schema; Hettner 1935, Reichert et al. 2010) this chapter considers abiotic (geology, geomorphology, hydrology and climate) and biotic (vegetation and soils) factors that influence past environmental settings. It discusses these factors for the wider region, but focuses particularly on the mound of Birnin Lafiya, which is approximately 2 km from the present-day course of the Niger River, close to the modern village of the same name. The Birnin Lafiya site presents as an abandoned tell and is currently under seasonal agricultural cultivation. There are no comparable sites nearby, and among the hundreds of sites recorded by the team within the wider region, Birnin Lafiya stands out for its scale and for the surface traces of well-preserved architectural features such as potsherd pavements. The site is at least 26 hectares in extent and the mound typically rises between 5 m and 8 m above the surrounding floodplain landscape. Given this contrast with other sites an obvious challenge is to consider the nature of the mound and its environmental context.