Author Archive for Anne Haour

14
Apr
19

geneva, 14 april

After a productive workshop in Frankfurt organised by Nick G with colleagues working in Mali,  I’m now in Geneva, working on a funding application and looking forward to the Easter break.

The period after Easter will see a couple of visits to deliver talks in Cambridge and a trip to Benin!

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14
Apr
19

call for applications from West African early career scholars

Bringing the past to print: Archaeology for and by West African scholars

Early career researchers are invited to apply to attend a writing workshop to be held 27-31 May 2019 in Cotonou, Bénin. This workshop, funded by the British Academy (UK), aims to further collaborative links between researchers in the UK and in the Global South, and to promote the uptake of research emanating from the Global South in academic journals.

Mentoring and advice will be provided to the attendees by journal editors and UK-based scholars who will work with the workshop participants to produce papers in preparation for publication, ready for submission by December 2019. This support will take the form of intensive face-to-face support throughout the workshop, as well as follow-up mentoring via email.

Five funded places are available to attend this workshop. Early career researchers based in West Africa, in the field of heritage and archaeology (including relevant topics within history, anthropology, tourism, development, environmental science and art history), whose PhD thesis was defended between January 2015 and December 2018, are eligible to apply.

Applicants are asked to supply a one-page CV, one-page description of the specific research which they hope to bring to publication, and a one-page skeleton structure of a proposed paper identifying the target journal/publisher. Criteria for assessment are (1) interest of the research presented; (2) coherence and articulation of its presentation; (3) past track record of the applicant.

Reasonable economy return travel, and accommodation and subsistence during the workshop, will be provided to successful candidates. Applicants need to be available the final week of May 2019 and already be in possession of all necessary travel documents (e.g. passport).

Please contact Admin.Sru@uea.ac.uk with any questions. The deadline for applications, to be received by email, is noon 23 April 2019. Successful applicants will be notified by 30 April to begin planning travel arrangements, assisted by administrative staff at the Sainsbury Research Unit (University of East Anglia, Norwich).

 

 

Atelier d’écriture / British Academy Writing Workshops 2019

Appel à candidatures

 

Les chercheurs en début de carrière sont invités à s’inscrire à un atelier d’écriture qui se tiendra du 27 au 31 mai 2019 à Cotonou, au Bénin. Cet atelier, financé par la British Academy (Royaume-Uni), a pour objectif de renforcer les liens de collaboration entre chercheurs du Royaume-Uni et des pays du Sud, et de promouvoir la publication des recherches émanant des pays du Sud dans des revues spécialisées.

Les participants bénéficieront de mentoring par des rédacteurs de revues et des universitaires, qui travailleront avec les participants au cours de l’atelier afin de préparer des documents en vue de leur publication, prêts à être soumis d’ici décembre 2019. Ce soutien prendra la forme de discussions intensives face à face pendant la durée de l’atelier, ainsi que d’un suivi par e-mail.

Cinq places financées sont disponibles pour assister à cet atelier. Les chercheurs en début de carrière basés en Afrique de l’Ouest, dans le domaine du patrimoine et de l’archéologie (y compris des sujets pertinents d’histoire, d’anthropologie, de tourisme, de développement, de science de l’environnement et d’histoire de l’art), dont la thèse a été soutenue entre janvier 2015 et décembre 2018, sont admissibles à appliquer.

Les candidats sont priés de fournir un CV d’une page, une description de la recherche qu’ils souhaitent publier, ainsi qu’une ébauche d’une page de la structure du projet d’article, identifiant par ailleurs le journal visé. Les critères d’évaluation sont (1) l’intérêt de la recherche présentée; (2) la cohérence et l’articulation de sa présentation; (3) les antécédents du candidat.

Un voyage aller-retour en classe économique, ainsi que l’hébergement et la subsistance pendant l’atelier, seront fournis aux candidats retenus. Les candidats doivent être disponibles la dernière semaine de mai 2019 et être déjà en possession de tous les documents de voyage nécessaires (passeport).

Veuillez contacter Admin.Sru@uea.ac.uk pour toute question. La date limite des candidatures, qui sont à envoyer par e-mail, est le 23 avril 2019 à midi. Les candidats retenus seront informés avant le 30 avril de commencer à planifier leurs déplacements, avec l’aide du personnel administratif du Sainsbury Research Unit (University of East Anglia, Norwich).

31
Mar
19

norwich, still in europe, 31 march

Though this blog has been quiet for the past few months, hopefully you have caught us on Twitter. We’ve certainly been busy – 2019 started at a fast pace and continued the same way.  Excellent workshops in Cambridge and here in Norwich with colleagues in International Development and at the Earlham Institute.

Continuing sorting through the materials relating to the cowrie project, and continually finding lovely new examples to feed into teaching. To the left here is a Kuba drinking cup. Jan Vansina, in his book Children of Woot, notes that among the Kuba rare objects that came from afar were, as is the case in many societies, the goods that counted most. The habit of showering cowries into graves was one clear instance of conspicuous consumption.

Our Centre for African Art and Archaeology series continued to receive wonderful speakers: CFAAA Spring 2019

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Other colleagues visited to chat about pottery and bone

And then of course the overarching issue of the day.

12
Dec
18

cowries project

Our research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, has now formally closed. We’ve definitely learnt a lot in 3.5 years! We now have a much better idea of the role played by cowrie shells in the medieval economy. We have shown that they were important in the medieval Maldives, and that these islands offered an ideal habitat for the living animals to thrive. We demonstrated that archaeology sheds important new light on this remote archipelago’s trade connections: our excavations yielded items from China, India, Sri Lanka, Europe and central Asia. We have seen tens of thousands of cowrie shells in museums across three continents, and developed reliable criteria to differentiate the various species. Thanks to this, we can identify the shells encountered by archaeologists in West Africa, and understand much more clearly the routes by which they came into the African continent.

We have published four academic papers and two briefings for UNESCO, and been featured in several news stories. We have talked about our work to dozens of schoolchildren, university students and ambassadors. We have presented conference papers in the UK, the Maldives, France, Sweden, Tanzania, Ghana, Denmark, Canada, Turkey and Morocco. We put together a small exhibition showcasing our findings. Thanks to our project, the first ever PhD thesis has been written by a Maldivian archaeologist.

Now the hard work begins! We are writing a book outlining our findings from our excavations at the Maldivian island which the famed medieval traveller ibn Battuta described as ‘a fine island’.

 

 

30
Nov
18

last few weeks

This has been a busy time, with the book launch for 2000 years in Dendi last Friday,

dav

which celebrates the book getting from this:

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to this:

dav

swiftly followed by African Archaeology Research Day in Cambridge.

These past weeks, and in weeks to come…: Thinking about the possibilities and ideas behind the return of museum artefacts to sub-Saharan Africa, pottery in southern Benin today, whether medieval traders acted in a manner which economists would consider rational, responding to climate change, potsherds from the medieval at Kinolhas in the Maldives, Chinese archaeology, and how cowries speak to notions of value.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

30
Oct
18

new publication

… and it is a behemoth of a publication, weighing in at over 3 kilos and 800 pages – of luscious, informative, tangible and intangible material culture-based discussion of seven years of work in northern Benin and beyond.

dav

Last time I saw it, it looked like this

— so it is rather lovely to see its finished form.

We’ll be having a small gathering on November 23rd to wet its head. Likely, too, to raise a glass to the European Research Council who made this research possible.

17
Sep
18

conference excursions

Once the formal conference proceedings were completed we were taken on a tour of several historical and archaeological delights, both around Rabat and near Casablanca.

A trip to the Museum of History and Civilizations and to an exhibition at Bank al-Maghrib Museum, devoted to Moroccan medieval traveller ibn Battuta. No prizes of guessing what was amongst the most prized commodities he encountered – cowries, of course.

dav

Ibn Battuta’s presumed route across West Africa

 

Then off to Casablanca for a visit of several former quarries that were mainly exploited in the early 20th century when Casablanca’s port was developing and which led to the discovered of some very early human, hominin and animal remains.

dav

Above is a panel at the Sidi Abderrahmane archaeological park, outlining the region’s importance. The particular geomorphology of the region means there is a high density of Pleistocene sites.

The sequence from these various caves, which spans over 5 million years, offers data for comparison with those from other African areas where hominids appeared and it feeds into the debate on the earliest occupation of Europe.

eddIMG_20180916_122946.jpg

 

 




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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