As we gear up for a new academic term and wave good-bye to the warm Norfolk summer, in Crossroads terms we start to think about the project steering meeting next October, and the 2014 field season just after Christmas.

On our target list for test pitting in 2014 are the following two lovely sites –



The finds from the 2012 and 2013 field seasons are with various labs and experts – in York, Cotonou, Miami, Bristol, Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Cambridge and of course Norwich, where the pottery analysis is proceeding as usual. I have nearly completed the analysis of the material from Kompa, so further posts might tell you whether or not they all make sense.

Next week I am going to the British Museum to see whether any of their holdings of so-called ‘aggrey’ and Igbo Ukwu beads resemble our Birnin Lafiya beads – back to the question of lantana which I posted about last year (here and here).

Over the past month, I have also been thinking about cowrie shells, trans-Saharan trade, the archaeology of northern Nigeria and African connections.


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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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