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 in the United Kingdom.
One project, funded by the European Research Council, is called Crossroads of empires: archaeology, material culture and socio-political relationships in West Africa, running January 2011 to December 2015. This involves a team of archaeologists, historians and anthropologists who will be studying the Niger Valley where it borders Niger and Bénin, carrying out new excavations and research in order to shed light on the people who inhabited the area in the past 1500 years. We are hoping to find evidence of the activities of skilled craftspeople such as potters, blacksmiths and dyers, and to explore how their work and daily life were affected by the polities that occupied this landscape in the last two millennia.
The other project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is called Cowrie shells: an early global commodity, running April 2015 to September 2018. The team brings together expertise in African archaeology, marine biology, museology and Maldivian heritage to shed light on a famous shell, the money cowrie; it served as currency, ritual object and ornament across the world for millennia, and most especially in medieval times in the Maldive Islands of the Indian Ocean and the Sahelian regions of West Africa.
Log in regularly, or sign up for email updates, to hear about our findings and to get a glimpse into these fascinating pasts.
The opinions cited here are personal and in no way represent any official policy of UEA, the funders, or any other organisation!