I presented a lecture on the project, “The Archaeology of Harar and Its Region”, in “The History and Culture of Harar workshop”, the inaugural event of the new Centre for Material Histories of Islamicate Cultures, New York University, 22nd March. An interesting event that showcased a range of research being completed in Harar.
After the success of last years field walking survey, a new survey was undertaken during this fieldwork season to assess what changes and new archaeological features could be identified in the village. The survey team consisted of one person from the cultural bureau in Dire Dawa and two people from the village of Harlaa who had extensive knowledge of the village layout.
Following the survey, we then went on to complete a 2m x 2m test pit excavation, which we are hoping will reveal some interesting dates for occupation in the village.
Nadia Khalaf in the test excavation trench.
Test excavation team sieving deposits from the trench.
The second field season of the ‘Becoming Muslim’ project commenced on the 26th January 2018. Before travelling to Eastern Ethiopia, the team took a trip to the important UNESCO World Heritage site of Tiya.
Two new papers have just been published on aspects of the research that are part of this project:
1. Insoll, T. 2017. First Footsteps in the Archaeology of Harar. Journal of Islamic Archaeology 4: 189-215.
2. Insoll, T., Khalaf, N., MacLean, R., and Zerihun, D. 2017. Archaeological Survey and Excavations, Harlaa, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia January-February 2017. A Preliminary Fieldwork Report. Nyame Akuma 87: 32-38.
As a Becoming Muslim project initiative, project partner Dr Veerle Linseele is currently providing training on faunal analysis at the Natural History Museum in Brussels, Belgium, for Mr Misganaw Gebremichael, Archaeology Officer, Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Addis Ababa. This will help in beginning to fill a skills gap in Iron Age archaeology in Ethiopia. Veerle and Misganaw were visited in Brussels by Tim, who also gave a lecture “Sub-Saharan African Archaeological Contributions to Understanding Ritual and Religion” at the University of Leuven.
The annual African Archaeology Research Day was held in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York on Saturday 25th November. The day is filled with interesting papers on all aspects of the archaeology in Africa.
As the project post doctoral fellow, I delivered a talk on our work this year in the village of Harlaa. My paper was titled ‘Preliminary Results from the Harlaa Archaeological Survey 2017’.
The Project and the Centre for Islamic Archaeology welcomed two new PhD students to the Institute in September 2017, they are Nathan Anderson and Hannah Parsons. Nathan’s research project is The Materiality of Early Islamic Sects as Observed in Archaeological Remains in East Africa: Quirimbas Islands. A case study. Hannah is completing research on Chinese Ceramic Consumption practices in East Africa: Past Materialities, Entanglements and Identities (10th-17th Centuries AD).
This week I attended the Red Sea VIII conference, University of Warsaw, Poland. The results of the 2017 field season at Harlaa, with a particular focus on the beads found, were well received and useful comments obtained following my presentation at this Conference.