BANTURIVERS is a Starting Grant ERC project (2018), headed by Birgit Ricquier (Centre for Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences)

Bantu languages are spoken in Central and Southern Africa and are a sub-group of the Niger–Congo family of languages. The comparative study of Bantu languages provides a tool to understand how Bantu-speaking communities have spread across Africa, providing insight into the relationships between them as well as with other linguistic communities throughout history. It will also let the researchers retrace the history of techniques, tools, and knowledge of the peoples living in this area.

As part of her ERC research project BANTURIVERS, Birgit Ricquier will study the various phases of Bantu expansion into the forests of Central Africa, especially in the Eastern part of the Congo basin (the Congo river and its tributaries upstream and downstream from Kisangani, from Kindu to Bumba). The project will call upon linguistics, anthropology, and archaeology in order to study the communities that once lived and now live in the Congo basin.

In addition to conducting a comparative study of the languages in this region, Birgit Ricquier’s project also includes field anthropological research that might shed light on a number of topics such as the trading and/or barter networks that existed between local communities, socio-cultural aspects of life in the basin, ethnoecology, and ethnohistory; in addition, an archaeological approach will yield direct data on the history of early communities living along the Congo river and its tributaries.

End of the project: ...


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 804261).

Created on October 1, 2018