Archive for the 'Round-up' Category

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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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’.

 

 

16
Feb
17

lots of explaining to do

As our departure approaches, we have various opportunities to bring the community up to date with our findings.

First off a Council meeting at which we are given permission to remove the artefacts (seen here spread out on the table) from the island (so long as we promise to write a book about them).

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Then a public event where we outline our findings and show people some of the objects unearthed.

A miniature pot, glass bracelets, a yellow pendant and a coarseware jar refitted by Hamid and Zaid prove most popular.

15
Dec
16

Petition

Clarify plans to protect UK Research and Universities from impacts of leaving EU

The prospect of leaving the EU has left the UK’s Higher Education and Research sectors – among the country’s most successful exporters of services – in damaging uncertainty. Can Government clarify its position on the rights of EU staff, continued research funding, and staff and student recruitment?

 

Open for UK residents and citizens to sign at

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/174915

28
Jul
15

brussels july 2015

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My main project in the next months, and for which I am on research leave, is to bring together the Crossroads monograph which will present some of the results of our five-year research in Benin. There are 30 contributors to this volume and it will contain a whole range of types of information, so it is quite a complicated endeavour.  Ali LS, Olivier G and I spent four days earlier this month moving the process forward. We were surrounded by the amazing collection of ethnographic pots which they have accumulated over the years (you can see some of them looming on the top shelf).

For variety I’m also spending time thinking about shells, cowrie shells specifically, for my new project which will take me into the Indian Ocean. I’ll be writing about this too on this blog as the project develops (see here for a brief note of its launch).

05
Jun
15

studies continue

As we enter the final few months of the Crossroads project, we are reaching the end of our pottery analysis. 25 kilos of sherds returned to Cotonou just this week, thanks to our friend and colleague Joseph A.

Meanwhile, the animal bone is in Brussels, the human bone in Cambridge, the carnelian beads in Leicester, the metal objects and slag in Toulouse, the charcoal in Brussels and Miami, and the glass and shell beads in Frankfurt.

The challenge now is to pull of all of this together for the book.

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Work ongoing by Ronika P at the at the Palaeoanthropology Laboratory of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies

12
Mar
15

cotonou, 6-8 march

The end of project workshop went very well, with some 15 papers.

The opening, attended by Université Abomey Calavi’s vice-chancellor, the faculty dean, the head of the archaeology lab and the head of the department of history and archaeology, involved two presentations and a musical interlude.

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Papers followed all through the Saturday and, on the Sunday, a round table on heritage.

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Here is some local press coverage.

Refreshments were taken in the delightful setting of the Botanical Gardens of Université Abomey Calavi.

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On dit à tout le monde à la prochaine fois.




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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