Posts Tagged ‘benin

27
Oct
17

copenhagen, 27 october

I’m at the Crossroad Archaeology: Global Narratives of Local Encounters conference at the University of Copenhagen. It is a meeting in memory of archaeologist Klavs Randsborg, whose research included excavations, anthropological interviews and museum development in Ghana and Bénin.

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27
Apr
16

aarhus, 26 april

I have been visiting the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, an archaeological research group which aims to compare the archaeology of urbanism from medieval Northern Europe to the Ancient Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean World. Integral to doing this is the use of various techniques (isotopes, XRF, statistical analyses of radiocarbon dates) which can allow a greater precision in chronologies but also determine the origin of objects.

It’s all about context, context, context.

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I was speaking about our Crossroads work and the five-phase chronology developed to characterise our sites – underpinned by 120 radiocarbon dates but ultimately based on pottery styles and on small finds such as glass bracelets or cowries.

I was taken on a visit to the Moesgård Museum, with its very high-tech coverage of the archaeology of Bronze, Iron and Viking Age northern Europe as well as displays charting the evolution of the human species.

I was interested to learn that the Queen of Denmark is also an archaeologist.

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I was taken on a great tour of the places of Viking and medieval significance in Aarhus – former city walls, two cathedrals of which one was outside the walls, locations of former excavations. Aarhus will be European Capital of Culture next year.

At the seminar, and dinner afterwards, we talked about… network theory, the relations between trans-Saharan traders and their host communities, elite items or not at Birnin Lafiya, cowries and the Merovingian trade, PhD and postdoctoral funding opportunities, the value of having anthropologists on the team to keep archaeologists in check, ERC videoconference interviews, and ways of advancing capital over long distances.

Back to Norwich now, and on the plane will be thinking about trust in the global Middle Ages.

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20
Mar
16

encore et toujours

 

 

On the Crossroads book. We have talked about… site visibility, the context of the terracotta figurines, the Continental terminal, pottery pavements, the dearth of palms, the presidential election, and polished lithics.

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13
May
15

photography again

Those pots are getting a lot of attention. Having been drawn mid-April, the same lot have now been photographed.

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Andi, who had previously been here to photograph our small finds, was back. Henriette R assisted with the process and we obtained some good individual shots as well as more artistic family groups.

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The plan now is for these to go back to Benin, some as early as next week as we take advantage of a visiting colleague…

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01
May
15

new video

Visit the Crossroads exhibition archive to hear Benin archaeologist Didier N’Dah describe the aims and results of the project in northern Benin. This interview was made in March during our latest field trip for the project.

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…

18
Jun
14

Science Cafés

For those of you in Norwich, please come tonight, 7.30 pm at the Maddermarket Theatre bar, to hear about our work. A chance to ask all the things you never dared to ask before.

At the Crossroads of the medieval West African empires
Anne Haour and Sam Nixon

Science Cafés take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Science Cafés represent a grassroots movement; they exist all over the world and can vary from place to place.




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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