The past month has been spent thinking about pottery. Louis, visiting from Montpellier, has spent 3 weeks with the Tin tin pottery which will be the focus of his Masters thesis and a Nyame Akuma piece: some of it is quite beautiful, with incised decorations and a deep, burnished, black colour.  Sam has been examining all our ‘intact pots’ (this is polite archaeo-speak for pots which are smashed into relatively large fragments, and thus stand a chance of fitting back together) – some will be part of the project exhibition next year, some will be tested for food/liquids remains (were they eating sorghum? brewing beer? salting fish?), and others will be star attractions in the project monograph. Nadia has been counting and describing Tin tin pots for her forthcoming Nyame Akuma paper. Ali has been keeping a close eye on things from Brussels. I have been looking through various Africanist publications to see which has the most beautiful pot illustrations, and counting and describing potsherds from Kompa. I have to admit there is definitely something to this refitting business…

Next week I am going to be presenting the Crossroads project generally to the Medieval Archaeology group in Cambridge and to the Séminaire Culture Matérielle at the Musée du Quai Branly, while today and tomorrow Olivier G and Lucie S are in Marseille talking about indigo dyeing and spinning and weaving in Dendi.


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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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