Author: Graham Connah. Paperback; 175x245mm; xxii+270 pages; illustrated throughout in black & white with 9 colour plates. 505 2019 Archaeological Lives . Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784919580. Epublication ISBN 9781784919597. |
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This book is about how the author became an archaeologist at a time when opportunities for employment were rare and how he worked as a field researcher in West Africa and wrote about his work there. It traces his archaeological training and employment at Cambridge and his practical experience on British excavations and explains how he became one of the pioneers of Nigerian archaeology during a decade in that country. It is not so much a study of the archaeology that was done, as an account of how it was done; its circumstances, organization, and economic and social and cultural context. As a result, it is both a professional and personal account, for these two aspects of life were inseparably intertwined, his wife Beryl becoming an integral part of the story. Other archaeologists and many non-archaeologists also feature in the account. The period in Nigeria from 1961 to 1971 included the Nigerian Civil War from 1967 to 1970, when archaeological work continued with difficulty. Both circumstances and preference meant that the author always worked with a labour team of Nigerians and with Nigerian assistants, of whom few had any experience in archaeology and none had any formal training; there were no postgraduates or others from outside the country. Success in excavations in Benin City, in the south of the country, and in Borno, in its far north-east, was as much the achievement of those Nigerians as it was the author’s.
About the Author
GRAHAM CONNAH was born in Cheshire, educated at the Wirral Grammar School, served on a destroyer in the Mediterranean, read history and archaeology at Cambridge University, and worked there as a Research Assistant. After experience on numerous excavations in Britain, including assistant director and director, in 1961 he went to Nigeria, where he spent ten years excavating and on fieldwork, the subject of this book. In 1971 he moved to the University of New England, in Australia, founding the Archaeology Department there and later becoming its Foundation Professor. He returned to Nigerian fieldwork in 1978 and 1981, and subsequently excavated in Egyptian Nubia and Uganda. He also contributed to Australian historical archaeology and founded the journal Australasian Historical Archaeology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological institute, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, MA (Cantab), D.Litt (UNE), and holds the Order of Australia, and the Australian Centenary Medal. He is currently a Visiting Fellow in Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University, Canberra.
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