Posts Tagged ‘buddhism

13
Apr
17

bahrain, 13 april

I am in Bahrain for the Islamic Archaeology in Global Perspective conference.

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We have been hearing papers outlining the nature of the Islamic occupations from Brunei to Morocco via Turkmenistan, Yemen, Saudi and many others. In some areas such as the Levant, these rather late, medieval, levels were dug straight through to get to the older, Classical or Biblical-era, levels that were of more interest to the excavators. I will be talking about West Africa later today; there the problem has sometimes been the opposite, where sites were excavated down to Islamic levels – enough to try and show that a site mentioned in Arabic written records had been identified – and no further. Neither approach is considered acceptable today, by the way!

 

 

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25
Jan
17

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.

14
Feb
16

Maamigili

On the island of Maamigili on the western side of Raa atoll is a resort which, as well as the usual Maldivian offerings of white beaches, greenery and beach villas, highlights the archaeological materials that were discovered when the resort was developed. It operates a museum under licence from the Maldivian Department of Heritage and it also showcases fine art and ethnographic materials. This includes a traditional house, salvaged from the island of Kandholhudhoo which was devastated in the 2004 tsunami.

We had been asked to go over to record, clean, and advise on the remains. These include two bathing tanks (vevu) made of sandstone blocs (veliga), coralstone grave markers, and at least three quadrilinear coralstone structures resembling tombs. All this lies in the central area of the island where no resort development has taken place, but routine works elsewhere on the island (plumbing, etc.) regularly uncover pottery and other past remains.

We were shown around by the collections manager, Niyaz, and given a tour of the displays situated in the entrance lobby

Ethnographic pots – bought from Sri Lanka – at the right, archaeological pot at the left

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This also gave us an opportunity to study some of the 120kg of cowries that had been recovered at the site.

A group of visitors, very interested in the Buddhist connections

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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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