Sites & cities that bear the name of Koumbi Saleh

Koumbi Saleh

Today in : Mauritania
First trace of activity : ca. 9th century C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 14th century C.E
Recorded names : Kumbi Saleh

Description : Koumbi Saleh, sometimes Kumbi Saleh is the site of a ruined medieval town in south east Mauritania that may have been the capital of the Ghana Empire. From the ninth century, Arab authors mention the Ghana Empire in connection with the trans-Saharan gold trade. Al-Bakri who wrote in eleventh century described the capital of Ghana as consisting of two towns 6 miles apart, one inhabited by Muslim merchants and the other by the king of Ghana. The discovery in 1913 of a 17th-century African chronicle that gave the name of the capital as Koumbi led French archaeologists to the ruins at Koumbi Saleh. Excavations at the site have revealed the ruins of a large Muslim town with houses built of stone and a congregational mosque but no inscription to unambiguously identify the site as that of capital of Ghana. Ruins of the king's town described by al-Bakri have not been found. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the site was occupied between the late 9th and 14th centuries.

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