06
Jul
17

accra, 6 july

Visit to the Museum of Archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies.

There is a focus on current research undertaken by members of the department and collaborators, and there are plenty of cowries on show.

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Some have been the object of research publications. Other items are brought out from the storeroom, and we will have to seek out details on their provenance and context.

In a nutshell, (spoiler warning) the question here in Ghana is about how much the money cowries were used versus the ring cowries, and how big a role local West African cowries might have played.

Other trade goods to West Africa are of course outlined in the museum.

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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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