We welcome another new contributor, Dr Sam Nixon! Sam has just been appointed as a Postdoctoral Researcher in African Archaeology at the Sainsbury Research Unit (UEA) and will be joining the Crossroads project from January 2012.
Sam completed his PhD at UCL Institute of Archaeology (London), researching the early Islamic trading towns that developed in the West African Sahel as the main exchange points for the growing trans-Saharan trade. The research was focused around fieldwork at the site of Tadmekka in northern Mali, this site having been identified as an ideal new testing ground for investigating the development of West African trans-Saharan trading communities and their consumption practices. Since completing his PhD Sam has been an Honorary Research Associate at UCL, writing a monograph on the Tadmekka research (to be published next year in the Journal of African Archaeology Monograph Series) and a number of other specialist publications. He has also been assisting with the British Museum exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam (commencing January 2012). His current developing research is looking at the growth of Islamic trading communities in the savannah and forest zones of West Africa.
Sam’s research into trading communities and the material culture remains of trade will provide a useful complement to the existing research skills of the Crossroads project team. He also brings a wide range of archaeological skills to the project, including experience coordinating specialist studies of ceramics, archaeometallurgy, and archaeobotany. Sam will be a central member of the team for exploring the project literature and helping coordinate analysis of material, and will provide regular updates on these aspects of the project.