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. The cities of the Middle Niger present the archaeologist with something of a novelty; a non-nucleated, clustered city-plan with no centralized, state-focused power. Ancient Middle Niger 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 was a leap in complexity. The book ends with an examination of certain critical moments in the emergence of other urban landscapes in Mesopotamia, along the Nile, and in northern China, through a Middle Niger lens. Highly-illustrated throughout, this work is a key text for all students of African archaeology and of comparative pre-industrial urbanism.