Archive for March 29th, 2012


another student voice

Crossroads of empires involves a special collaboration of people, all pushing the boundaries of their knowledge and capabilities.  But I think this season was a little extra special for those students setting foot in Africa for the very first time.  A journey like this can take long hours spent with papers and books and make them real.  Walls come down as figures and statistics turn to faces, for better or worse.  The entire trip was memorable, for example, sleeping out in the open air, or eating with hands inside a shady hut, with many curious faces peering through the doorway.  And the way in which the project gets results, through involving people and encouraging them to build on their interests and abilities are things to take forwards from the Crossroads.

Emma Lord, University of Stirling

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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March 2012