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The cities of West Africa's Middle Niger, only recently brought to the world's attention, make us rethink the 'whys' and the 'wheres' of ancient urbanism. They present the archaeologist with a novelty; a non-nucleated, clustered city-plan with no centralized, state-focused power. This book explores the emergence of these cities in the first millennium B.C. and the evolution of their hinterlands from the perspective of the self-organized landscape. Cities appeared in a series of profound transforms to the human-land relations and this book illustrates how each transform marked a leap in complexity.