01
Feb
16

We move to Trench 3

We were getting a little nervous at this point, having found little on trenches 1 and 2. As we walked around the island, a clearing caught Annalisa’s eye.

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It seemed undisturbed and our local guide confirmed that this area had never been under intensive use. We decided to excavate here, and to maximise my chances of locating the subsurface archaeology we carried out small test pits at regular intervals. It looked like this:

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By the end of the work we had managed to expose quite a lot of pottery, charcoal, bone, a coarse gravelly layer full of coral debris, and the sandstone remains of a structure of a type known locally. The pottery was consistent with what we had found in the other two trenches, which gave a useful idea of date: probably our target period!

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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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