SRU logo
UEA logo

African Archaeology Research Day




The two keynote speakers have now been confirmed:
Eric Huysecom, University of Geneva – From Mali to Senegal: the research of the “Ounjougou” team.
Tim Reynolds, Birkbeck – The Haua Fteah, recent work and implications.
Download the full programme from the menu bar on the the right. The following Saturday sessions running 9.30-11.30 have been confirmed:

Aspects of ritual in African archaeology

(Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Anne Haour)
In the session we will explore, partly through specific case studies and partly through a theoretical overview, two main questions. Firstly, how can archaeologists aim to distinguish ritual and religious behaviours in the African material record - how can we improve the way we recognise these behaviours? Secondly, and more specifically, are we justified in using 'ritual' to make sense of difficult-to-explain archaeological deposits and elements of material culture in the African archaeological record? 
Speakers include Stephanie Wynne-Jones, Joyce Dartey, Neil Norman, Bryn James, Andrew Reid, and Laurence Douny.

Archaeologists and development in Africa: consultants or activists?

(Charlie Arthur and Peter Mitchell)
Africa is one of the fastest developing continents in the world and its heritage resources are increasingly under pressure. The role of the archaeologist as manager of these resources appears to be changing as the pace of development quickens; now the talk is of activism and engagement rather than salvage or compliance. What has changed? Is it simply the enormous scale and destructive nature of some large-scale development projects that encourages archaeologists to get involved in this way? Or is this a reflection of a genuine sea change within the discipline and the drive for a more politically aware and socially engaged archaeological practice? This is an important question as it gets to the heart of why we do archaeology. In other words, do our obligations lie with the physical remains that we recover from excavations or the people and the places of Africa? 
Speakers include Noemie Arazi, Patrick Darling, Shadia Taha, Mardjoua Barpougouni, Matt Davies, Anna Kotarba-Morley and Sada Mire.

East Africa’s engagement with the Indian Ocean world: New projects and perspectives

(Alison Crowther & Nicole Boivin)

East Africa has a long history of interaction with the Indian Ocean world, evidenced through a variety of disciplinary datasets.  The earliest phases of the region’s Indian Ocean contact and interaction have nonetheless remained rather elusive and contentious.  Recent archaeological projects, particularly involving the methods of the archaeological sciences, are providing important insights into these early phases.  This session will explore new approaches to and insights into East Africa’s involvement in the larger Indian Ocean world.

Contributors:  Mark Horton, Alison Crowther, Solomon Pomerantz, Leilani Lucas, Michele Wollstonecroft

Museum collections

(Fiona Savage, née Sheales)

Since 2008 the economic downturn has seen funding for public museums reduced.  The impact on institutions, whose collections include historical and/or contemporary ethnographic material from Africa and elsewhere has yet to be assessed but it is probable that the affects of staff reductions and reduced research activities will have important and long-term consequences for the future development of museum ethnography.  Through a series of indiividual case studies this panel will include papers about individual collectors/collections of African art/ethnography, the changing collecting practices and acquisition policies of museums in respect of African material, how the care and conservation of Africa collections have been managed during this period and how curators and curatorial assistants continue to conduct research on the collections they have responsibility for in an environment where investment and funding have seen cuts.

Contributors: Lucie Smolderen, Rachel Hand, Vicky Van Bockhaven, Chris Wingfield, Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp, John Mack

We will be updating this page weekly so please check again for programme updates.

On Thursday 31 October, for those who have already arrived in Norwich, we will be going out for an informal pub meal and possibly a visit to the 36th Norwich Beer Festival

On Friday 1 November there will be a wine reception sponsored by UEA’s School of Art History and World Art Studies, followed by dinner at The Library Restaurant in the centre of Norwich.

Closer to the time, we will be in touch by email with everyone who has registered, but in the interim if you have any questions contact us at

Site designed by Accent Design Group Ltd