I’m in Bristol for the eleventh African Archaeology Research Day. It’s the fourth at which I have presented Crossroads materials (after London in 2011, Southampton in 2012, and Norwich in 2013) and things have been coming along as we enter the project’s final year.
I talked mainly about how we might write a history of Dendi in the longue durée thanks to the variety and richness of the sources we have for the region: maps, archaeology, language maps, oral traditions, written texts, finds analysis… all giving information on different time periods. Changes in the environment, how much the archaeology of our area resembles (or not) that of neighbouring areas, and whether Dendi saw several shifts from vacuum to crossroads, were the main three questions I threw out there.
What has been really nice this year has been the possibility to speak alongside several other, inspiring, European-funded projects. The Garamantes and their links with the wider world (including sub-Saharan Africa?), Indian Ocean maritime connections as seen through food, and markers of the Atlantic slave trade, were other topics covered – all, again, about the role of the African continent in world history and its connections beyond its shores.