22
Jan
17

day 6, utheemu

Brief trip to Beenafushi, an island also known as Bodu boli finolhu… that is, the island of the cowries.

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Annalisa recovered 11 live moneta cowries, and we also found some eggs. Getting a much better sense of how these animals live!

Returning to Utheemu, we visit the palace – as tourists this time, after our time there excavating last year.

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Then back to our trench for the final afternoon. The name of the game is cleaning and sweeping before we plan and photograph. Slabs looking mighty fine!

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4 Responses to “day 6, utheemu”


  1. 1 Catherine LEFEVRE
    January 22, 2017 at 13:04

    Hello !
    I would love to know WHAT you have found, what is on those photos ? What do you expect to find in that island ? Did all the cowries used in Africa come from there ? Excuse-me if I missed some explanations you have already delivered. It is so interesting ! ( I heard a lot about cowries when studying Western African History in the Middle Ages at the Sorbonne some time ago : 1970 with Raymond Mauny)

    • 2 ach
      January 22, 2017 at 16:19

      Dear Catherine, thank you for your questions! The pictures show coralstone blocks that have been shaped by human hand. We still don’t know what they were, unfortunately, since they don’t form a clear alignment. Mosque, well or Buddhist temple are all possibilities. However my feeling is that it may be a harbour edge. Yes, generally speaking the money cowries found in West Africa are all thought to come from the Maldives, but it has never been proven (and seems a bit unlikely to me). Mauny talks about it in his Tableau Géographique de l’Ouest africain. We are hoping in the Maldives to find settlements of the medieval period and to get an idea of their trade connections and whether they exploited cowries.

    • 4 ach
      January 22, 2017 at 16:23

      Dear Catherine, thank you for your questions! The pictures show coralstone blocks that have been shaped by human hand. We still don’t know what they were, unfortunately, since they don’t form a clear alignment. Mosque, well or Buddhist temple are all possibilities. However my feeling is that it may be a harbour edge. Yes, generally speaking the money cowries found in West Africa are all thought to come from the Maldives, but it has never been proven (and seems a bit unlikely to me). Mauny talks about it in his Tableau Géographique de l’Ouest africain. We are hoping in the Maldives to find settlements of the medieval period and to get an idea of their trade connections and whether they exploited cowries.
      PS you can see also crossroadsofempires.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/in-praise-of-cypraea-moneta/


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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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