What do we learn if we look in parallel at the past of two distinct parts of the world? Anne Haour weighs this question by considering both the central Sahel of West Africa and the European countries around the North Sea, for the period 800-1500.
This is a time for which historical records are scarce, and to which archaeology is making ever-increasing contributions. It is also, and foremost, a time when the central Sahel and northern Europe alike were undergoing far-reaching changes that were to define key aspects of their identity today. New monotheistic religions were replacing the animist faiths, states and empire becoming consolidated, new trading networks being set up, new towns emerging, fortifications being erected as symbols and in defence against raiders and invaders. Do these elements of convergence mean that we can unpick much wider themes of similarity between northern Europe and Sahelian West Africa? This volume's central argument is that we can understand one area better by seeking inspiration from another. There is much talk by researchers today of the value of comparative approaches and cross-cutting studies; this book puts them to the test.
Lucid and thought-provoking, this book will be of interest to scholars and students, historians and archaeologists, West Africanists and Europeanists.
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Anne Haour is a Lecturer in African Archaeology, Newcastle University.Review:
...interesting volume...a welcome exercise in trying to extend intellectual horizons through comparative studies * David Edwards The Society for Medieval Archaeology * In an easy-to-read writing style,[Haour] has employed an innovative and challenging approach that brings in a welcome fresh ideas to a current and future archaeological and historical research * Carlos Magnavita, Journal of African Archaeology * ...there is much in this volume to be inspired by. The boldness of the topic is exciting and thought-provoking, as id the idea of the collision of the local and the global. * Ceri Ashley, African Achaeological Review * [A] thoughtful and intriguing book ... highly original. * Journal of African History *
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