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Dr. Carlos Magnavita

Magnavita Frobenius Foto Homepage  

Research projects 


Vocational education

Forthcoming publications

Publikations peer reviewed

Publications Non-peer reviewed


Tel: +49 (0)69 798 32013

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Research focus: archaeology of food-producing societies (ca. 5000-200 before present)

Regional focus: West and Central A frica


Research Projects


As principal investigator:  

The Lake Chad region as a Crossroads: first archeological and oral historical investigations into early Kanem-Borno and its intra-African connections  (DFG, Frankfurt)

As research fellow:  
2012-2015 Crossroads of empires: archaeology, material culture and socio-political relationships in West Africa (ERC, Norwich)
2003-2009 Environmental and Cultural Change in West and Central Africa (DFG, Frankfurt)
1999-2002 History of Culture and Language in the Natural Environment of the West African Savannah (DFG, Frankfurt



2017                      DFG, Bonn – Starting grant for collaborative research in Chad (€ 5400)


2015                      DFG, Bonn – Starting grant for collaborative research in Brazil (€ 2920)


2015                      Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Düsseldorf – Research Scholarship (€ 15,000)


2008                      The Wenner Gren Foundation, New York - Conference Grant ($ 14,500)


Vocational education

1999-2003         Ph.D., Archaeology, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/M, 2003


Focus: Settlement archaeology, Later Stone Age, Iron Age, Chad Basin,


Thesis: Studies on the Later Stone Age and Early Iron Age human occupation of the southwest Chad Basin (1300 BC-700 AD)

1994-1999       M.A., Archaeology, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/M, 1999


Focus: Pottery Analysis, Later Iron Age, Chad Basin


Thesis: A Late Iron Age and Historical Ceramic Sequence from Northeast Nigeria


Forthcoming publications (peer-reviewed)

Magnavita, C. / Sule, A.S. (in press). The Islamic Archaeology of the Central Sudan and Sahel: Kanem-Borno and Hausaland. In: Walker, B. / Insoll, T. / Fenwick, C. (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Magnavita, C. (in press). First millennia BC/AD fortified settlements at Lake Chad: implications for the origins of urbanisation and state formation in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Sterry, M. / Mattingly, D. (Hrsg.), Trans-Saharans: Human Mobility and Identity, Trade, State Formation and Mobile Technologies across the Sahara (1000 BC-AD1500), Vol. III: State Formation and Urbanisation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 


Publications (peer-reviewed)

Magnavita, C. (2018). The geophysical prospection of Birnin Lafiya. In: Haour, A. (Hrsg.), Birnin Lafiya: 2000 years in a Dendi village. Journal of African Archaeology Monographs 13. Brill, Leiden.


Magnavita, S. / Magnavita, C. (2018). All that glitters is not gold: facing the myths of ancient trade between North and sub-Saharan Africa. In: Green, T. & Rossi, B. (Hrsg.), Landscapes, Sources, and Intellectual Projects: Politics, History, and the West African Past. Brill, Leiden.

Magnavita, C. / Lüth, F. / Appiah-Adu, S. (2018). First trial geophysical surveys at Kintampo open-air sites: results, recommendations, research prospects. Journal of African Archaeology 15 (2).


Magnavita, C. / Magnavita, S. (2017). Garumele revisited: retracing vanished fired-brick elite constructions and new data on settlement foundation. African Archaeological Review 34 (2), 155-175.


Magnavita, C. (2016). Contributions of archaeological geophysics to field research in sub-Saharan Africa: past, present, future. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 51 (1), 115-141.


Haour, A. / Nixon, S. / N’Dah, D. / Magnavita, C. / Livingstone-Smith, A. (2016). The settlement mound of Birnin Lafiya: new evidence from the eastern arc of the Niger River. Antiquity 90 (351), 695-710.


Magnavita, C. / Adebayo, O. / Höhn, A. / Ishaya, D. / Kahlheber, S. / Linseele, V. / Ogunseyin, S. (2009). Garu Kime: a late Borno fired-brick site at Monguno, NE Nigeria. African Archaeologial Review 26 (3), 219-246. DOI: 10.1007/s10437-009-9058-0.


Magnavita, C. / Breunig, P. / Ishaya, D. / Adebayo, O. (2009). Iron Age beginnings at the southwestern margins of Lake Chad. In: Magnavita, S. / Koté, L. / Breunig, P. / Idé, O.A. (eds.), Crossroads/Carrefour Sahel: Cultural and Technological Developments in First Millennium BC/AD West Africa. Journal of African Archaeology Monograph Series 2. Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt, pp. 27-58.


Magnavita, S. / Maga, A. / Magnavita, C. / Idé, O. (2007). New studies on Marandet (central Niger) and its trade connections: an interim report. Zeitschrift für Archäologie Aussereuropäischer Kulturen 2, 147-165.


Magnavita, C. (2006). Ancient humped cattle in Africa: A view from the Chad Basin. African Archaeological Review 23 (3-4), 55-84.


Magnavita, C. / Breunig, P. / Ameje, J. / Posselt, M. (2006). Zilum: A mid-first millennium BC fortified settlement near Lake Chad. Journal of African Archaeology 4 (1), 153-169.


Fahmy, A.G. / Magnavita, C. (2006). Phytoliths in a silo: micro-botanical evidence from Zilum (Lake Chad Basin), NE Nigeria (c. 500 BC). Journal of Biological Sciences 6 (5), 824-832.


Magnavita, C. / Schleifer, N. (2004). A look into the earth: Evaluating the use of magnetic survey in African Archaeology. Journal of African Archaeology 2 (1), 49-63.


Gronenborn, D. / Magnavita, C. (2000). Imperial expansion, ethnic change, and ceramic traditions in the southern Chad Basin: A terminal nineteenth-century pottery assemblage from Dikwa, Nigeria. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 4 (1), 35-70.


Publications (non peer-reviewed)

Magnavita, S. / Magnavita, C. (2017). A very brief archaeological reconnaissance of the Niger Valley in the southwestern Niger Republic. In: Rupp, N., Beck, C., Franke, G. & Wendt, K.P. (Hrsg.), Winds of Change. Frankfurter Archäologische Schriften 35. Verlag Dr. Rudolf Habelt, Bonn, pp. 181-191.


Magnavita, C. / da Silva Jr, L.S. / Mutzenberg, D. / Tavares, B. / Oliveira, C. (2016). Geofíscia aplicada à arqueologia histórica: um breve estudo de caso no Engenho Inhama, Igarassu, Pernambuco, Brasil. In: Listo, F.L.R. / Mutzenberg, D. / Tavares, B.A.C. (Hrsg.), I Workshop de Geomorfologia e Geoarqueologia do Nordeste. GEQUA, Recife, pp. 241-256.

Magnavita, C. (2011). Birni Gazargamo – die alte Hauptstadt Kanem-Bornos / Birni Gazargamo – the Early Capital of Kanem-Borno. In: Gronenborn, D. (Hrsg.), Gold, Sklaven, Elfenbein. Mittelalterliche Reiche im Norden Nigerias. RGZM, Mainz, pp. 58-61.


Magnavita, C. (2009). Short report of a visit to the archaeological sites of Lergam and Garu Kime, Geidam L.G.A., Yobe State of Nigeria. Borno Museum Society Newsletter 76.


Magnavita, C. / Breunig, P. (2008). Facts and speculations: a reply to D. Lange’s The emergence of social complexity in the southern Chad Basin towards 500 BC: archaeological and other evidence. Borno Museum Society Newsletter 72/73 & 74/75, 71-83.


Magnavita, S. / Maga, A. / Magnavita, C. / Idé, O. (2007). New studies on Marandet, central Niger. Nyame Akuma 68, 47-51.


Breunig, P. / Eichhorn, B. / Kahlheber, S. / Linseele, V. / Magnavita, C. / Neumann, K. / Posselt, M. / Rupp, N. (2006). G(l)anz ohne Eisen: Große Siedlungen aus der Mitte des ersten Jahrtausends BC im Tschadbecken von Nordost-Nigeria. In: Wotzka, H.-P. (ed.), Grundlegungen. Beiträge zur europäischen und afrikanischen Archäologie für Manfred K.H. Eggert. Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Tübingen, pp. 255-270.


Magnavita, C. (2004). Zilum - towards the emergence of socio-political complexity in the Lake Chad region. In: Krings, M. & Platte, E. (Hrsg.), Living with the lake: perspectives on culture, economy and history of Lake Chad. [Westafrikanische Studien]. Köppe, Köln.

Magnavita, C. / Kahlheber, S. / Eichhorn, B. (2004). The rise of organisational complexity in mid-first millennium BC Chad Basin. Antiquity 78 (301).


Magnavita, C. (2002). Recent archaeological finds of domesticated Sorghum bicolor in the Lake Chad region. Nyame Akuma 57, 14-20.


Magnavita, C. / Magnavita, S. (2001). New evidence of proto-urban settlements in the Lake Chad area. Nyame Akuma 55, 46-50.

Magnavita, C. (1999). Investigating the transition from the Stone Age to the Iron Age in the southwestern Chad Basin. Nyame Akuma 52, 55-57.ationen (peer-reviewed)