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For other uses, see Tellem (surname).
The former dwellings of the Tellem people by the Bandiagara Escarpment.

The Tellem were the people who inhabited the Bandiagara Escarpment in Mali between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries CE.[1] The Dogon people migrated to the escarpment region around the 14th century.

The Tellem were pygmies or "small red people" who built dwellings around the base of the escarpment as well as directly into the cliff-face. Many of these structures are still visible in the area. Some Tellem buildings, most notably the granaries, are still in use by the Dogon, although generally Dogon villages are located at the bottom or top of the escarpment, where water gathers and farming is possible.

The Tellem people disappeared for unknown reasons, or perhaps interbreeded with the Dogon. It is thought by some in Mali today that the Tellem possessed the power of flight.

See also[edit]

  • John Huizinga, studied physiological and genetic adaptation in the West African savanna, including the Tellem people