Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationPennsylvania State U.
Grant numberGr. 9404
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitleDouglass, Dr. Kristina, Pennsylvania State U., University Park, PA - To aid research on 'Testing Models of Cultural Change through Archaeological Survey and Oral History among Mikea Forager-agropastoralists of SW Madagascar'
KRISTINA DOUGLASS, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Testing Models of Cultural Change through Archaeological Survey and Oral History among Mikea Forager-agropastoralists of SW Madagascar.’ This project investigated the 17-18th century migration of cattle herding communities into southwest Madagacsar’s dry, deciduous forest, a region known today as the Mikea Forest. The goal was to see whether the cattle herders who migrated into the Mikea Forest several hundred years ago maintained their ancestral cultural practices as they adapted their livelihoods to life in the dry forest. Today the communities in the Mikea Forest are widely considered to be foragers, though their oral histories clearly trace their ancestral roots to cattle herding clans. Through archaeological survey and excavation of ancient sites in the forest and extensive oral history interviews with Mikea historians, the study identified important vestiges of cattle herding culture deep in the forest, suggesting that Mikea communities retained important aspects of herding culture. At the same time, the oral historical and archaeological records suggest that persistent insecurity in the forest linked to warfare during the reign of the Andrevola kings, colonial encounters during the period of French colonialism and the politics of natural resource use in the Mikea National Park, has impoverished Mikea communities and threatened their ability to maintain their ancestral traditions.