This week I have been tweaking the final last bits of our pottery tables and working on the pottery chapter for our book. The chapter has two principal objectives. The first is to outline the methodology we employed for the analysis of the pottery excavated throughout the Crossroads project. The second is to present the assemblage, including a description of the decoration types and main shapes present and comparing them with other pottery known from archaeological work in the wider region.


As in many parts of West Africa, we effectively had to design a pottery typology from scratch to inform our work in Dendi. Contrarily to certain (rare) parts of the subcontinent, such as the Inland Niger Delta and Bandiagara Plateau, or the Lac Chad area, assemblages from this part of the Sahel were, and remain, very poorly known. We did dispose of studies carried out in areas nearby, like the Parc W or the Kainji dam, but these researchers paid just minimal attention to pottery. We also made use of broader methodological publications concerning, well, roulettes for example.


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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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