Microartifacts – artifacts less than ¼”, such as botanical remains, glass, lithic and ceramic fragments – are often excluded from traditional archaeological analysis due to their small size. This exclusion is particularly apparent in the field of West African archaeology where very few microartifact studies have been conducted. However, these diminutive artifacts are closely linked to production, consumption and depositional practices, and can therefore address crucial questions of economy and spatial organization. This talk presents the results of the microartifact campaign from the 2010 Abomey Plateau Archaeological Project field season. By bringing new sampling and analytic techniques to the site of Cana-Totah, I show the benefits and limitations of microartifact analysis. I also put forward the results from Cana-Totah as a potential model for other Dahomean palace sites and West African palaces generally.
Andrew Gurstelle, University of Michigan