Archive for February, 2013

23
Feb
13

25th Anniversary Post-doctoral Fellowship

Applications are invited for a 3-year post-doctoral research fellowship, beginning September 2013, funded in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK.

Applicants will hold a doctorate in anthropology, archaeology, art history or a related discipline, and will preferably have expertise in one or more of the following areas: history of collections, museum anthropology, or anthropology of art, though other areas of expertise will be considered. Regional area of expertise is open. It is anticipated that there will be a 70/30% split between research and teaching duties.

Closing date: 12 noon, Monday 18 March 2013

Further particulars and an application are available on  http://www.uea.ac.uk/hr/jobs/ra/ra926.htm

16
Feb
13

amsterdam 16 february

There was no let-up in discoveries in the last few days of fieldwork.

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'ah... c'est pas mal'


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these kids wanted me to take a picture of them, and then they took a picture of me

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Drawing sections prior to backfilling

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Under the TTK mango tree

We returned very happy to Cotonou, where meetings, balancing the books and packing boxes easily filled two days. Particular high points of this season have been the continued interdisciplinarity, the recovery of a fuller range of material culture from Birnin Lafiya, the execution of 5.5 test pits upriver from there, a fruitful collaboration with the Direction du Patrimoine Culturel, a much better knowledge of site distribution thanks to surveys, an improved integration with the village elders and Niger colleagues, and the fact that we now have 3 Masters and 2 doctoral theses planned to come directly or indirectly from the project.

Another major aspect of our work has been planning  the exhibition we’ll be holding next year.


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Hornimann exhibition piece secured (almost)

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Another exhibition-piece-to-be comes out of the ground

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Yet another, over Djimet's left shoulder

Having completed the third and largest field season, we’re beginning to think of ‘what next..?’

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For now, writing from Amsterdam airport with 390 kgs of pottery. Having been warned by the shipping agent about the unreliability of maritime schedules, we took all the finds for analysis with us. A particular thanks to airport staff in Cotonou who, from the Air France chef d’escale to the guy at X-rays, made the process of checking in 32 bags between the six of us more straightforward than you might expect.

 

 

08
Feb
13

people (3)

The portrait series has proved popular with relatives and friends back home, so here is a third installment. (Before you ask, globally yes we do look tired and have lost weight!)


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08
Feb
13

departures

This week sees the departure of a  number of team members. The archaeometallurgy, survey and geoarchaeology teams have been particularly badly hit! 

 

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Above are  Ali devastated at the rate of erosion of a mound site along the river, Caroline hunting for furnaces, Didier marking a possible site for excavation in 2014, and Paul sampling our deepest trench at BLaf, which was dug by Ali and Nicolas. However fear not, the bulk of the team will be remaining till the 13th, and we are still occupying two bases – Birnin Lafiya and Karimama.

08
Feb
13

filming

An innovation this year is that we have had an embedded film-maker, Alan. His brief has been to create footage for the forthcoming project exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) – to help contextualise our work for the visitor, to show what it is like to have an archaeological project in the Sahel, the scientific process, and generally showcase the work of researchers from UEA and beyond. Below, Nadia and Alan filming the making of our sieve in Cotonou some weeks back.

 

 

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Since then, Alan has filmed interviews with Ali, Sam and Richard on their trenches, me pointing out random blobs in the landscape, the survey team hunting for sites, Louis processing archaeobotanical samples, and Lucie and Romuald commissioning textiles and Sam receiving them. He’s also taken over the pole photography and this morning is helping Nadia hoover a potsherd and cobble pavement at site TTK (which might end up published in Nyame Akuma). The camera get us a lot of attention.

 

 

 

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07
Feb
13

Karimama 7 feb 2013

 

In Karimama after visiting the progress of the textile commissioned from a weaver at Mamassi Peuhl. We also did an overview of progress on the survey, which is going well.

Earlier this morning, we received a visit from the elders of Birnin Lafiya to the site. They were shown around Sam and Richard’s excavations.

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Brief, as dinner beckons and I am in a moving car about to lose internet connection.

04
Feb
13

day 21

We are very well, albeit sandy.

Our Niger and Direction du Patrimoine colleagues have now arrived, so the last few days have seen a lot of tour-guiding for me.

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Work continues at Birnin Lafiya, with three trenches currently active.

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Thanks to the Harmattan wind, Paul has been able to fly his kite, to give us images of the site.

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Alan supplemented his footage of our work with images from the gani festival in Banikoara.

This week, we have been doing a lot of surveving, and one surprise has been  how many potsherd pavements are actually knocking around.

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One wonders what degree of cultural continuity – if any – that indicates.

I write from a bar in Karimama (bars are good, as they have electricity), where people are watching a documentary on the destruction by erosion of archaeological sites in Tunisia. (Last time I was here they were showing the Swiss news and the burning of thew Timbuktu manuscripts so today is marginally more cheerful). Word from the Karimama street —

‘les jeunes sont dingues…’ re a story on illegal migrant across the Sahara

‘l’eau sale que les gens boivent là-bas en Somalie…’ re a story on pirates in Somalia

‘Le documentaire là est très riche… je préfère ça à des histoires de feuilleton’

 

 

 

 




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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