malanville, 12 January

The Giratoire sous les neems is a small maquis in the centre of Malanville,which gets its name, presumably, from the big neem trees which offer a welcome shade. Ten of us arrived safely from Parakou in our trusty Land Cruiser and met Sam, who had just waved off the ‘Pekinga team’. Alan took some useful road footage along the long drive up from Cotonou, we agreed what equipment each team will grab, and talked about the aims of each team. We have two UAC students with us, Tocano Sampson who wrote a thesis on Abomey, and Abbas Diallo whose family is from this region. Currently we await our fried fish and frites and we will then do various briefings/equipment distributions before splitting into two teams for the next couple of weeks. Nadia, Caroline, Abbas, Louis and I will be in Kompa; Ali, Sam, Alan, Sampson and Richard will be at Birnin Lafiya. Way upstream will be Carlos, Paul, Sven, Mossi and Franck, in Pekinga. It sounds a bit complicated, but it is going to get more complicated still! The main thing is, we are going to be busy, hopefully productively – and so far, we’re quite busy and happy. Watching the situation in Mali of course. Most people seem to think the military intervention ‘had to happen’.


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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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