st andrews 24 october

Heading up to St Andrews to give a paper at the Medieval Studies seminar of the School of History there. The title indicates a focus on the cowrie shell, and I am going to add in a bit about the northern European finds of such shells in medieval graves (often those of women and/or children) (see here a recent story). Of course, I will also give a snapshot of our archaeological work in Benin, which situates where I am coming from. Even though we were not fortunate enough to recover medieval cowries there…

All of this is bringing me back to some of the West Africa/Europe comparative work I have done before, in my 2007 book and papers since, including one written recently with Ian F from Oxford.

Meanwhile in Norwich, we have been mapping out the next 6-8 months which will include fieldwork in the Maldives, research trips to West and East Africa, and hopefully a couple of nice papers reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of our team: we hope museums, archaeologists, anthropologists and marine biologists will all find something there. Stay tuned…


inaugural lecture 4 oct

Should you wish to, you can now view my lecture of last week here.

Thank you to the various people who have sent me comments and questions. There has been a lot of email traffic and I am still musing over some of the topics… many have provided a lot of food for thought.


The globalised world of the Middle Ages

Last few days before my public inaugural lecture. have spent today sourcing images of ibn Battuta, Aethelred pennies and the the shells from Border Cave. It will be quite a tour!

For those of you not in Norwich, you will be able to follow the lecture here.


new publication

The report of out first field season in the Maldives, earlier this year, is out in the June issue of Nyame Akuma. It will tell you how things went, and what we found. We plan to go back early 2017.


The six most recent issues of Nyame Akuma are accessible to online subscribers only. Membership plus digital subscription to Nyame Akuma is available at very nominal cost to Northern hemisphere residents (typically less than USD 25). It is free for Africans residing in Africa.


Raa Meedhoo; priceless treasures of the “smiling people”

Destiny has a funny way of returning Love! Nearly a year ago, it invited me on the “joy-ride” of my life. These were the months of my life that made me discover the nomadic streak in me, which fuel…

Source: Raa Meedhoo; priceless treasures of the “smiling people”


society of africanist archaeologists, 2

At the recent SAfA conference, the team on the Cowries: an early global commodity research project presented work within the ‘Trans-Saharan trade’ session. You can see our Powerpoint here:

HaourChristieJaufar_session 17


Society of Africanist Archaeologists

Just back from the biennial meeting of SAfA, in Toulouse. Congratulations to the organisers (in Toulouse, Geneva and Brussels) for an excellent, rich programme.


The conference was for many of us – not least for EU migrants to the UK such as myself – cast under a gloomy cloud by the Brexit vote, but despite this it was good, as ever, to catch up with colleagues and friends.

Annalisa, Shiura and I did a cowrie-focused paper in the trans-Saharan session, and Didier and I chaired a Crossroads session (here HaourNDah_session 22 is the paper).

About this blog

This blog has been set up to chart the activities and research findings of two projects led by Anne Haour, an archaeologist from the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

The first project, called Crossroads, brings together a team of archaeologists, historians and anthropologists studying the Niger Valley where it borders Niger and Bénin (West Africa). We are hoping to shed more light on the people that inhabited the area in the past 1500 years and to understand how population movements and craft techniques shaped the area's past.

The second project, called Cowries, examines the money cowrie, a shell which served as currency, ritual object and ornament across the world for millennia, and in medieval times most especially in the Maldive Islands of the Indian Ocean and the Sahelian regions of West Africa. We hope to understand how this shell was sourced and used in those two areas.

These investigations are funded by the European Research Council as part of the Starting Independent Researcher Programme (Seventh Framework Programme – FP7) and by the Leverhulme Trust as a Research Project Grant. The opinions posted here are however Anne Haour's own!

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October 2016
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