Author Archive for Anne Haour


top views

Here is some relatively random information for readers who wish to identify their peers. All supplied to me via WordPress, with thanks.

In the past seven days:

United Kingdom in the lead, United States second, Benin third

In the past 30 days:

Belgium in the lead, United Kingdom second, United States third. Good showing from Switzerland and Germany!

In the past year:

United Kingdom in the lead, United States second, Belgium third. Good showing from France, Nigeria, Italy, Japan and Botswana!


first meeting of the cowrie shell project

On April 1 we launched a new research project, aiming to better understand the cultural and commercial uses of cowries in West Africa. The most famous member of the cowrie family, the moneta or money cowrie, has served as currency, ritual object and ornament across the world for millennia, but among places where cowries had strong ritual and commercial functions in medieval times are the Maldive Islands of the Indian Ocean, and the Sahelian regions of West Africa. I wrote about this a couple of years ago, here and here. And now, here we are, with a proper, full scale research project with funding from the Leverhulme Trust.

We held the initial project meeting in Glandford, home of the Glandford shell museum. A rite of passage.


The project brings together a West African archaeologist (myself), a marine biologist, an Africanist anthropologist, and a Maldivian archaeologist on a PhD studentship; a postdoctoral researcher will be recruited very soon. By bringing together expertise in marine biology, collections-based research, anthropology and archaeology, we’re hoping we can shed new light on how this one object, the cowrie, was valued within and between cultures over 750 years. So, we will be undertaking museum collections work, reappraisal of archaeological collections, and excavations of Islamic period contexts in the Maldives.



photography again

Those pots are getting a lot of attention. Having been drawn mid-April, the same lot have now been photographed.


Andi, who had previously been here to photograph our small finds, was back. Henriette R assisted with the process and we obtained some good individual shots as well as more artistic family groups.


The plan now is for these to go back to Benin, some as early as next week as we take advantage of a visiting colleague…



new video

Visit the Crossroads exhibition archive to hear Benin archaeologist Didier N’Dah describe the aims and results of the project in northern Benin. This interview was made in March during our latest field trip for the project.


erc statistics

East Anglia is a good place to be…

“The 10 most attractive [macro-regions] for ERC grantees are the region of Île-de-France (which encompasses the Parisian metropolitan area), Inner London, East Anglia (which encompasses Cambridgeshire), the Lake Geneva region (which encompasses the Swiss cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais), the region of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, the metropolitan region of Zurich, the autonomous community of Catalonia, the administrative region of Upper Bavaria (which encompasses the city of Munich), the province of South Holland (which includes in its territory the cities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam), and the region of Rhône-Alpes (which encompasses the metropolitan area of Lyon). Within the group of … regions with more than 20 grantees, the highest aggregate success rates were attained by three Swiss regions, those of Northwestern Switzerland (with a success rate of almost 30 %), Lake Geneva and Zurich, East Anglia, the administrative region of Upper Bavaria, the region of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, Île-de-France, Inner London, and the provinces of North Holland and Gelderland (with a success rate of more than 15 %)”

Annual Report on the ERC activities and achievements in 2014, page 46


new publication

See the forthcoming issue of Journal of African Archaeology to discover more about past ironworking in Dendi…

Iron Production in Northern Benin: Excavations at Kompa Moussékoubou. 

Caroline Robion-Brunner, Anne Haour, Marie-Pierre Coustures, Louis Champion & Didier Béziat

This paper focuses on the habitation and archaeometallurgical site we investigated in 2013 near Kompa. We had chosen to test pit this site because in our 2011 survey we’d found both pottery and iron-working remains dotted about this area, an unusual combination. Find out what we learnt here: Preview_Robion-Brunner-etal-JAA13-1-2015

One thing I did for this paper was the pottery.


For information on other publications, search this blog for posts with the tag ‘Publication’.


drawing pots

Since autumn 2013 we have been sending the finest of our pots over to Brussels for professional illustration, but some items are so large they just could not travel. Accordingly, for the past week we have had Anja S here in Norwich, drawing some of the Crossroads materials.



27 items were drawn in all. They ranged from very large vessels to potsherds, and David K, who has been working on a lot of that material, sat in for one session.



About this blog

We are a team of archaeologists, historians and anthropologists studying the Niger Valley where it borders Niger and Bénin (West Africa). We are carrying out new excavations and research to shed more light on the people that inhabited the area in the past 1500 years.

This blog will tell you all about it.

This investigation is funded by the European Research Council as part of the Starting Independent Researcher Programme (Seventh Framework Programme – FP7); it is led by Dr Anne Haour of the University of East Anglia, UK. The opinions posted here are however her own!

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