malanville 31 January

Two of the test pits designed to examine early Birnin Lafiya and its predecessor have now been completed or near completed – one through a midden (thanks Louis) and one through a giant sand dune (thanks Frank). In parallel Ali and his trusty flying team have finished another excavation at the village with the great name of Bogo-bogo, one of the sites attributed locally to the Gurmantche settlers from further upriver, acknowledged as the first-comers here in Dendi. As a result, we are in the process of regrouping at our base camp, at Birni Lafia itself, and carrying out general maintenance and housekeeping today, our day off. Tasks for today include designing a team T-shirt (at the express request of the workmen contingent).

Karimama and Malanville have continued to be plagued by power cuts and additional the internet connection remains very slow (rumours the team is checking emails are therefore largely unfounded…). And a few drops of rain again today and it is very muggy.

Below is the Alibori along which Nadia has been surveying for the past 3 weeks.




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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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January 2014
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