William Leo Hansberry, a pioneer and founder of African studies in the United States, proposed in 1921 that the origins of Egyptian pyramids were in Central Africa. Hansberry’s analysis was based upon the discovery of earthen pyramids (mounds/tumuli) in the Inland Niger Delta in the modern country of Mali. This paper provides an overview of key West African tumuli sites as a preliminary discussion for future research for scholars to advance a new comparative approach, both archaeologically and anthropologically for understanding the design, function, and purpose of tumuli in both West Africa and the Middle Nile Valley. Hansberry’s research presents a model for transdisciplinary engagement which includes the disciplines of Nubiology, Egyptology, Africanist scholarship, and Africana studies.
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