Het archeologisch project in de binnendelta van de Niger en het nut van ontwikkelingssamenwerking op sociaal-cultureel gebied
In Europe archeology often has been connected with regionalist or nationalistic interested movements. In some cases archeology thus landed in very risky fairways and in this case it certainly did not promote the development to an independent science with proper theoretical basis. In Africa this is different. Directly after the independence the first president of Mali, Modibo Keita, has sent some promising new-coming students to Europe to study historic sciences, also archeology.
In that new country, of which the borders sometime had been drawn by French offices, tribes lived together who often possessed little affinity to one another. To the average inhabitant the identity as Malinesian hardly counted as opposed to the identity as member of a certain section of the population. Keita's intention was to stimulate the interest in the common past of the empires Ghana, Mali, the Songhai and the Bambara. He realized that for the development of the country a common consciousness of the Malinesian identity could not be missed.
Generally speaking this thought has found acceptance at the Malinesian intelligentsia. There the interest in the own past is strongly alive. From this thought the Institute des Sciences Humaines at Bamako has started a project to take stock of the numerous old hills of settlement in the inner delta of the Niger, from an economic and demographic point of view forming the most important area in the empire of the rich. The project has been financed by D.G.I.S. and is being executed in co-operation with Dutch archeologists.