Author Archive for Anne Haour

27
Feb
15

guene, 27 feb

This morning was the first of three planned ‘séances de restitution’ where we report back to the populations of Dendi what we have learnt so far about the past of the region. Olivier and his team, who had preceded us into the region, had made a lot of the arrangements already, inviting the community leaders of the region between Madekali and Kantoro to attend a session this morning in a meeting room in Guene. They even got some griots. All that was left for us to do was buy 150kg of rice, a sheep and a goat.

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It all went very well as the images above hopefully show. The substantial remark we had (among dozens) was that the history of Dendi should be on the curriculum in local schools. There were a lot of thank yous and kind words otherwise, going both ways.

Next is Monsey Dendi on Sunday.

20
Feb
15

fieldwork – 2

Here is the document which we have designed to hand out to the various local communities amongst whom we have worked for the past 4 years in Dendi. We are really happy with it – we think it gives a good idea of what we have been up to and what we have been able to understand of the region. Hopefully others will agree!

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18
Feb
15

fieldwork – 4

I should have added that in fact fieldwork has already started for some of the team. Olivier and Lucie phoned earlier this morning from Dendi, where their interviews are going very well and they are preparing the ground for the ‘restitution of results’ events (and parties!) which we will be having next week. They are also hoping to visit the site of a well-known battle, which requires paperwork to be issued from the Niger side.

Mardjoua is on his way north from Cotonou, tasked with excavating some dyeing pits at Kwara Tegui Sambo Kwara and at Guéné. This is to test a hunch of Olivier’s that indigo dyeing was set up by artisans from the Mande world some 3-400 years ago.

16
Feb
15

fieldwork – 6

The ritual at this stage is the packing of pottery, ready to take back to Benin.

Part of this process involves rationalising the pottery analysed so far. Below is the material analysed by David, Sam and I in 2015. Not bad for six weeks’ work!

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But in parallel, I’ve had to make space in my office for the items which have now come out of the Crossroads exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre. Some of the panels will be headed to Cotonou with me at the end of the week for the end-of-project workshop.

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Some of the pots, too…

10
Feb
15

fieldwork – two weeks to go

Just back from a stimulating visit to the British Institute in Eastern Africa, I turn now to plans from the other side of the continent. Only two weeks to go before I am back in Benin. This year’s fieldwork will be quite different from previous years: it will involve a smaller team, and its aims, at least in terms of my part in it, are quite distinct from the research-based ones we had in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. They are twofold:

Pass through the villages in which we worked and explain what our research uncovered. To this end we plan a series of public events in Dendi.

Outline the project activities and findings to the scientific community in Benin. To this end we plan a three-day workshop at the Universite d’Abomey Calavi.

Bwayeri 9 - copie UntitledEntretien a¦Ç Loumbou Loumbou 2014-02 - copie Kofounou-2013-2 - copie Toryo-2011-206 - copie OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMGP7176 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_1869Guene-2014-01 - copieKofounou-2013-

23
Jan
15

exhibition – one week to go

The Crossroads exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre will run until 1 February. Come in for a visit in the final few days…

and, if you’re unable to visit, the images below, courtesy of Andy C., will give you a flavour of what it’s like.

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07
Jan
15

new publication

Just out: Abubakar Sani Sule & Anne Haour, The archaeology of northern Nigeria: trade, people and polities, 1500 BP onwards. Abubakar and I here aim to offer an overview of archaeological work that has been carried out in the northern part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and dealing with sites of the past 1500 years, selecting case studies involving both well-published and less well-published evidence.

Writing this paper with Abubakar offered me the chance to revisit some of the archaeology of northern Nigeria on which I had touched on briefly in earlier publications… particularly the Sokoto valley and the remains now under Kainji Lake, both of which are of renewed interest to me now as they deal with sites geographically and chronologically close to those of our current Crossroads work. Pottery pavements (and cowrie shells) galore!! Abubakar and I call for much more sustained post-excavation analyses, including revisiting material, such as pottery, that is currently languishing in the archives of Nigerian institutions.




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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