Dr. Nicole Boivin, PI of the Sealinks Project, will present a keynote talk at the 11th Annual African Archaeology Research Day (AARD) Conference in Bristol, 21-22 November, 2014. The talk will be part of a plenary session in which major European funded projects conducting archaeological research relevant to Africa will present findings. The talk, by the Sealinks Project team, will be presented by Dr. Boivin aboard the SS Great Britain, where the conference is being hosted.
Keynote talk abstract:
Sealinks Project findings in eastern Africa from the Middle Stone Age to the Iron Age: Human-environment interactions
Nicole Boivin, Alison Crowther, Ceri Shipton, Mary Prendergast, Heidi Eager, Mark Horton & the Sealinks team
Since 2010, the ERC-funded Sealinks project has investigated archaeological sites around the rim of the Indian Ocean, with the principal aim of understanding connectivity across the Indian Ocean in late prehistory until 1000 CE. While not specifically focused on Africa, fieldwork projects have been undertaken on the Kenya coast, mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia islands, the Comoro archipelago and Madagascar. While archaeology is an important focus, a range of other disciplines have been involved, including historical linguistics, genetics and palaeoecological studies.
At the core of the eastern African research has been a reassessment of early coastal and island archaeology, driven in part by a focus on the recovery of biological remains for archaeobotanical, zooarchaeological, isotope, ancient DNA and residue analyses as part of a programme of exploring the inter-relationship between the cultural, biological and environmental features of Indian Ocean trading networks. Targeted sites have ranged from cave and rockshelter sites to port settlements, and have yielded sequences extending from the Middle Stone Age to the colonial period. Given their chronology, these sites have provided insights not only into East Africa’s engagement with the broader Indian Ocean world, but also such diverse issues as the local emergence of modern human behavior and the introduction of agriculture to the coastal region. Despite the broad range of topics addressed, a key thread running through all of the studies concerns the relationship between human populations and environments, and the ways in which these have mutually impacted and shaped one another through time in the context of coastal and island eastern Africa.