birnin lafiya 17 feb 2012

A word from the base camp itself, again thanks to Didier and his roaming internet access ; he has found one corner of the Finds Room where there is a full mobile signal (when standing on a chair and allowing two hours).

The Finds Room consists of half a room with two tables covered un bags of pottery – washed on the right-hand side, unwashed on the left . There is a lot of it – Sam’s trench SIII and Nicolas’ trench SVI in particular have been generating huge amounts, the former largely as pottery pavement fill and the latter as occupation refuse, it seems. Folded strip roulette is prevalent, but we get guest appearances  by other motifs, and we’re particularly keen to untangle the role of the mat-impressed/’roulette de cordelette sur armature multiple’ sherds.

Also in the finds room are several fragmentary pots, bags of sand, and the various samples for archaeobotanical sampling (twenty-litre sacks of earth) ; hanging festively from a line like bunting are those samples which Louis has already processed.

The other half of the room is the kitchen, provisioned by purchases in Birnin Lafiya (tomatoes , onions, sugar, pasta, kola nuts, powdered milk), regular trips to Malanville (rice, gari, sardines, soft drinks, lemons, beer, oranges, bread), and the odd exciting addition from Cotonou or beyond (bananas, carrots, papayas, potatoes).

Our fleet of three cars spends its time taking people to field locations or to the main excavation site, dropping passengers off to catch buses in Malanville, buying food, getting repaired or fetching water.

2 Responses to “birnin lafiya 17 feb 2012”

  1. 1 Mary
    February 18, 2012 at 17:43

    Thanks for the wonderfully detailed description – posted while standing on a chair for two hours???

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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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