Archive for the 'General' Category
In 2013 this blog was viewed about 6300 times by people from 93 countries in all.
The most popular post was this one, which is good to know because I was planning to write in the next few days a similar one for this year!
Happy New Year to all and thank you for reading.
After seven months of planning, we are just two days away from African Archaeology Research Days 2013, the yearly gathering of Africanists in the UK, which this year will be held at UEA.
We have about 110 registered participants. We will have a couple of keynote papers, plenary session papers which will deal with Kenya, Tanzania, Benin, Mali, Senegal, Libya, the Sahara as a whole, the UK, Sudan, and the Western Sahara. Focus discussion groups dealing with archaeology and development, museum collections, the Indian Ocean system, and ritual in archaeology will consider those and other parts of the continent and bring the plenary session participants up to date with burning thematic developments in the field.
The fun starts at 9.15 Friday.
I have received and am reading four Masters theses, supervised by colleagues from various institutions, by students who took part in the 2012 and 2013 fieldwork…
Première approche du système morphologique, ornemental et technique de la céramique du site de « Tintin » au Bénin by Louis Champion, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier
Study of a collection of archaeological beads from Birnin Lafiya, northern Benin by Héloïse Meziani, University of East Anglia
Birni Lafia, un village Dendi : Tentative d’application de la méthode d’analyse typomorphologique au regard du contexte rural africain by Jean-François Pinet, Faculté d’architecture La Cambre-Horta, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Des arbres et des hommes : La végétation comme indicateur archéologique lors des prospections pédestres en Afrique, apport des connaissances botaniques des habitants de l’agglomération de Birni Lafia (République du Bénin, commune de Karimama) à l’archéologie by Julien Jourand, Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Congratulations to all and for those who wish to find out more, most of this work will be presented at African Archaeology Research Day in a few weeks’ time, so please come along to that.
Here is a recent interview I did which deals with lessons which I believe modern society might be able to learn from the information we’re unearthing about medieval West African cultures.
I’m also doing an interview on Monday for Radio New Zealand’s show Nights, which bills itself as ‘Unfurling fresh ideas and sounds along with the best radio documentaries and features from here and overseas’. Among things we’ll discuss are what happened to the people who lived in the Niger Valley a thousand years ago, how medieval life in Africa compared with life in Europe at the same time, and the role of large trees. Tune in Monday 21.10 New Zealand time (10.10 in UK, 11.10 continental Europe).
Despite spending a lot of time in the ocean in the past week or so (at depths of between 1 and 18 m) I have not succeeded in seeing a live Cypraea moneta cowrie: apparently, they feed at night, are masters of camouflage, and have been depleted by the Maldives’ long history as a cowrie trading nation.
I did learn that these molluscs were often caught using rafts of coconut fibres to which they would attach themselves – and that although dead cowries wash up onto the beach (I saw some of these), those which had been fished alive were considered more valuable, as they were shinier.
Marion Johnson’s 1970 paper describes the cowrie trade from the West African perspective – but meanwhile I had a valuable opportunity to discuss the cowrie trade from a Maldivian perspective, by meeting yesterday with archaeologist and historian colleagues at the National Museum and the National Centre for Historical and Linguistic Research (meetings kindly facilitated by our holiday resort manager!). I return loaded with books and offprints… Thus, some interesting things to think about in an island nation I have hoped to visit for over 25 years.
People have been asking for a map showing exactly where we work. Here is one, with thanks to mapmaker extraordinaire Nadia K:
The plan is to have a couple of keynote papers (Eric Huysecom and Tim Reynolds) on the Friday, we hope to avoid parallel sessions, and we’ll have 3-4 focus discussion groups on the Saturday morning (please send suggestions; ‘archaeology and museum collections’ and ‘Saharan archaeology and landscape’ are two themes already in the running).
Applications are invited for a 3-year post-doctoral research fellowship, beginning September 2013, funded in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK.
Applicants will hold a doctorate in anthropology, archaeology, art history or a related discipline, and will preferably have expertise in one or more of the following areas: history of collections, museum anthropology, or anthropology of art, though other areas of expertise will be considered. Regional area of expertise is open. It is anticipated that there will be a 70/30% split between research and teaching duties.
Closing date: 12 noon, Monday 18 March 2013
Further particulars and an application are available on http://www.uea.ac.uk/hr/jobs/ra/ra926.htm