book chapter

Tribes of the Rif

Peabody Museum of Harvard University9 • Published In 1931 • Pages: xviii, 417 , 67 plates

By: Coon, Carleton S. (Carleton Stevens).

This source covers the Berber tribes of the Rif, an area along the northern coast of Spanish Morocco. It deals in particular with three adjoining sub-areas: Rif, Ghomara, and Northern Senhaja. The book covers first the geography, traditional history, and recorded history of the area. There follows a thorough treatment of material culture, social organization, government and warfare, markets, public buildings and instruction, officers, life crises, religion, magic, and an analysis of the distribution of cultural traits. The many distribution maps are particularly useful. The author undertook the fieldwork on which this book is based when he was a graduate student in anthropology at Harvard University. Mr. David M. Hart, a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, and recently returned from two years fieldwork in the Rif, supplied the following information which supplements Coon's observations: 'A dual organization does exist among the Rif......each tribe in the Rif is split in half politically, and each of these halves not only fights the other one, but brings in, in most cases, other whole tribes or segments of tribes to help it out. called liff; the only liff that Coon mentions is the smaller type within each tribal segment. These small lifuf (pl. of liff) constantly change; the big ones do not. Aith Wariyaghar, for example, is divided into five primary segments; two of these are in one liff, two in the other, and the fifth is split in half, part of it on one side and part on the other. In Aith 'Ammarth there are four segments, and a two-way split. In Igzannayen, with five segments, it is three and two. In Asht Tuzin (as I recall) each of the five segments is split in half' (p. 91). 'While the village council may be composed of boys in Igzinnayen, this is not the case in Aith Wariyaghar or any of the other tribes. In these groups, adult men form the village council' ( p. 96). 'In his chapter on markets, Coon discusses women's markets, but fails to point out their distribution. They are located only in the lowlands and median slopes of Aith Wariyaghar; there are none elsewhere and none in the high mountains of that tribe. Although most of the other tribes have traditions of having had women's markets in the past, none have them now' (p. 110).
Traditional history
Pastoral activities
Hunting and trapping
Food preparation
Normal garb
Community councils
Judicial authority
Property offenses
Instigation of war
Aftermath of combat
Burial practices and funerals
Organized ceremonial
Berbers of Morocco
HRAF PubDate
Sub Region
Northern Africa
Document Type
book chapter
Creator Type
Document Rating
5: Excellent Primary Data
James R. Leary ; 1958
Field Date
Coverage Date
Coverage Place
Rif, Morocco
Carleton Stevens Coon
pt. 1. Culture.--pt. 2. Race
The material has been marked only for the MX3 Rif file. Pages 175-405, dealing with the comparative physical anthropology of the Rif, have been omited; pages 406-418, containing the author's conclusions as to Berber origins, and a general bibliography, have been included in the file.
Includes bibliographical records (p. [413]-417)
Rif Mountains (Morocco)
Morocco--Social life and customs