Posts Tagged ‘archaeology



Bahrain 0417

Back in Norwich after last week’s trip to Bahrain. This week thinking about Kenya, Maldives and Tanzania.


bahrain, 15 april

Visit of the al-Khamis mosque – allegedly Bahrain’s oldest – where excavations by our host Tim Insoll produced evidence of settlement dating from the eighth century AD, with a range of finds including pearls, a bread over, and three gold dinars of which one was minted in Kairouan (Tunisia) in the late tenth century – perhaps from West African gold?

Traditional houses and musical interlude in Muharraq, the old part of Bahrain.

A call for work on the Islamic archaeology in the Maldives – we are on it, Mehrdad and Natalie! And 2017 is Bahrain’s Year of Archaeology – yey!

Visit to the Bronze Age village of Saar, and to the multi-period site of Qala’at al-Bahrain. Four thousand years ago, three different systems of weights were being used here: local, Mesopotamian, and Indus Valley – already a globalised world.



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).


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.


days 20 and 21, kinolhas

We have begun our second week of excavation here at Kinolhas. Two of our trenches are finished or nearly finished; two new ones will replace them. Meanwhile, the accumulation of coralstone and sandstone blocs, pottery and gravestones in Trench 631 is still under excavation.



Final section drawings at Trench 321


Trench 544 is just starting out. Difficult conditions due to swarms of mosquitoes!



day 18, kinolhas

Yesterday we stayed late finishing up the cleaning and photographing of David’s trench T321.

This was the trench with a lot of stones, some possibly aligned – and now we have hit a series of circular patches of dark sand which might just be postholes.Which would be fantastic, giving a sense of the houses people built. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


Shiura’s trench T325 has reached its end, so on Saturday we will be starting a new one. Her new one, T544, up to recently heavily forested, is difficult to recognise now.


Annalisa went cowrie fishing with some young ladies.


And as usual there was plent of pot processing.


day 10, kinolhas

Today we completed another 18 shovel test pits, so not only are we getting a sense of the subsurface in this densely vegetated landscape, but we are actually a day ahead of schedule and all our pottery is washed so — this seems a good time to investigate an intriguing series of coralstone structures (quadrilinear features, plus what looks like a bathing tank) just to the south of our survey grid. Our local informants suggest they are very old and point to the presence of the bodhi tree – not native to the Maldives – as a possible indication of a former Buddhist community. The stone-built structures of that time were often reused by later peoples.


day 6, utheemu

Brief trip to Beenafushi, an island also known as Bodu boli finolhu… that is, the island of the cowries.


Annalisa recovered 11 live moneta cowries, and we also found some eggs. Getting a much better sense of how these animals live!

Returning to Utheemu, we visit the palace – as tourists this time, after our time there excavating last year.


Then back to our trench for the final afternoon. The name of the game is cleaning and sweeping before we plan and photograph. Slabs looking mighty fine!

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!

Please log in often, comment and/or subscribe to keep up to date with what's happening.

Blog Stats

  • 27,931 hits

Recent posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. There will be a special prize for the 50th subscriber

Join 146 other followers


April 2017
« Mar