Archive for July, 2014

29
Jul
14

come and visit Crossroads at work

If you are not able to travel to northern Bénin, your opportunity to see the work of the Crossroads team and some of the objects unearthed can be found in Norwich! Crossroads of Empires: Archaeology in West Africa opens on 21 October at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, running until 1 February 2015.

“Crossroads of Empires shares the experience of pursuing research into the African past, both to communicate the rich history of Africa and to provide a window into the modern landscape and culture of Africa”

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19
Jul
14

UNESCO cradle of humankind

Often the public perception is that African archaeology can be subsumed to early human fossils and caves.
That, of course, is not true at all…
but hey, here are a few images in honour of these ever-appealing ancestors. As a post-conference excursion, today we went to the UNESCO-listed Swartkrans and Sterkfontein caves. Indeed one of the first things I ever learnt about African archaeology: thank you, Ray.

wowfossilsP1050768

wowfossils5P1050796

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09
Jul
14

Johannesburg next week

For those of you who will be at next week’s meeting of the Pan African Archaeological Association for Prehistory and Related Studies / Society of Africanist Archaeologists (see here for something on the last SAfA), there are plenty of opportunities to hear about Crossroads.

Sam kicks things off on Monday afternoon, introducing the important site of Birnin Lafiya and its well-preserved archaeology. Tuesday Caroline et al and Louis et al focus in on aspects of the remains recovered – metallurgy and cultivation respectively. Wednesday, we open it all back up again, with papers by Nadia, Didier, Ali and I looking at the wider landscape around our field sites, and what we might be able to say about the past of that area, and in methodological terms for archaeology more generally.

Here are the details:

Mon 13h00-14h30
AN ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX OF THE 12TH-13TH CENTURIES AD FROM THE EASTERN ARC OF THE RIVER NIGER (REPUBLIC OF BENIN, WEST AFRICA)
Sam Nixon (University of East Anglia)

Tues 10h30-12h00
IRON AND BLACKSMITHS IN THE DENDI (NORTH BENIN)
Caroline Robion-Brunner (CNRS-Université de Toulouse), Marie-Pierre Coustures (Université de Toulouse)

Tues 15h00-16h30
RICE AND MILLETS IN EARLY BENIN: ARCHAEOBOTANICAL RESEARCH IN BENIN IN THE CONTEXT EARLY WEST AFRICAN AGRICULTURE
Louis Champion (University College London), Anne Haour (University of East Anglia), Leilani Lucas (University College London), Dorian Fuller (University College London)

Wed 10h30-12h00
THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF FIRST-MILLENNIUM SETTLEMENT IN NORTHERN BENIN, WEST AFRICA
Anne Haour (University of East Anglia), Alexandre Livingstone Smith (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium)

Wed 10h30-12h00 Farmers
CONTRIBUTION OF THE ANTHROPIC MOUNDS OF ATAKORA AND THE NIGER RIVER VALLEY (NORTH BENIN) TO KNOWLEDGE ON THE HISTORY OF POPULATION SETTLEMENT
N’Dah Didier (Université Nationale du Bénin)

Wed 10h30-12h00
INTO THE UNKNOWN: USING FIELD SURVEY AND GIS TECHNIQUES IN THE NIGER RIVER VALLEY, REPUBLIC OF BENIN
Nadia Khalaf (University of East Anglia)

Find out more here

02
Jul
14

photography

We are all set for our second session of small finds photography tomorrow. Below is a record of our initial session, mid June:

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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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