This blog has been set up to chart the activities and research findings of an European Research Council-funded project led by Dr Anne Haour of the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
The project is called ‘Crossroads of empires: archaeology, material culture and socio-political relationships in West Africa’.
Its aim is to provide information about the activities of the project and of the different aspects of the research being conducted within it. We are a team of archaeologists, historians and anthropologists who will be studying the Niger Valley where it borders Niger and Bénin, carrying out new excavations and research in order to shed more light on the people that inhabited the area between about 1250 and 1800 AD. We are hoping to find evidence of the activities of skilled craftspeople such as potters, blacksmiths and dyers and to explore how their work articulated with the various polities which the historical records tell us about: Songhai, Borgou, the Hausa cities.