Archive for the 'General' Category

11
Jul
17

accra, 11 july

Busy but productive times here at the University of Ghana.

 

Attending talks. Here, insights into the disastrous effect of jihadi occupation on the heritage and tourist industry in Timbuktu, and in Mali more generally. Malian colleagues outlined the work done to investigate, study and repair the mosque and mausolea torn down in 2012.

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Catching up with friends and colleagues; trading books, cowries and pots.

 

 

And still scouring the storerooms for shells!

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09
Jul
17

accra, 9 july

A week-end in Accra…

There is one cowrie on the image below

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I travelled to Accra with many of the Crossroads pots: they will be handed over to Benin colleagues for return to Benin. Feels like the end of an era…

 

06
Jul
17

accra, 6 july

I’m in Accra for the 15th meeting of the West African Archaeological Association. I’ve arrived earlier, looking forward to catching up with colleagues and with the hope of researching the cowries held in departmental collections. (The archaeology of Ghana has been majorly important in setting out some of the theories scholars hold about the spread of these shells into West Africa).

 

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Neither the traffic, nor the weather, are with me on this occasion, but let’s see how other things go…

18
Jun
17

thinking about pots

Thinking about pottery again.

The Maldives pots… visit from Dr Alison G from Southampton, expert in Islamic ceramics…

Looking, also, at the Chinese connection.

But also the Crossroads pots: organising and re-visiting our chapter which presented our ceramic assemblage and assessed its similarities and divergences with  other reported assemblages from across West Africa.

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These are two completely different sets of problems. In one case, the Maldives, clay was not available and all the pottery had to be imported, and it is largely wheel-thrown. In the case of Dendi, clay was available pretty universally, and although pots certainly moved – either for their own sakes or as containers for other things – it’s likely most households had the skills and raw material they needed to make what they required.

25
May
17

about the islamic archaeology in global perspective conference

Last month I visited Bahrain for a conference. You can hear short interventions by some of the conference speakers here; I am about ten minutes in.

“A recent conference in Bahrain brought together archaeology experts from over 14 countries to examine how our view of historic Islam has been distorted by the West. Sylvia Smith reports.”

 

25
May
17

norwich, 25 may

Back in Norwich where temperatures are just slightly below those of Dakar, and spending a week sorting, filing and tidying the Crossroads finds and data.

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This has also been the occasion to go through the various image folders and come up with some gems from the past.

Filming some podcasts – which you can now hear here.

Steering meeting – work and play:

Back in Benin:

A very cute pot – thanks to Giulia N for the photo.

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Also, back to work also on the project book, which we hope to have out next year.

20
May
17

dakar, 20 may

We have concluded our week in the archives of IFAN. We will be returning to Norwich richer in data and richer in cowries and will be thinking about how to write it all up.

Being here has been a great opportunity to round off my knowledge of the archaeology of Senegal – I know best the areas farther east in West Africa.

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I gave a talk to the PhD students and we discussed political boundaries and connections in medieval West Africa. Annalisa and I had lunch with Prof Ibrahim T and spoke about collections curation, underwater archaeology and Gorée Island among other things.

We say adieu to West Africa for now, until our next visit, in July for the West African Archaeological Association conference.

 




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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