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Welcome!

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.


2 Responses to “Welcome!”


  1. 1 Clement Bakinde, ABU Zaria
    October 14, 2011 at 14:54

    Going through the profile of Dr. Nixon, I believe hundred percent that you made the right decision in engaging him. I can see the project from this initial stage as a great success.


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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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