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The Trans-Sahara Project. State Formation, Migration and Trade in the Central Sahara (1000 BC – AD 1500)

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Katherine Bowers.

The Trans-Sahara Project seeks to explore questions of state formation, migration and trade in the central Sahara (1000 BC - AD 1500), using the Garamantes civilisation as the research fulcrum. The Garamantes were renowned for their sophisticated methods of irrigated agriculture and were a focal point in the pre-Islamic era for communication and trade networks that linked the Nile, Mediterranean and Maghreb with Sub-Saharan societies around Lake Chad and the Niger Bend. This presentation will detail how the Trans-Sahara Project is exploring the degree of interconnectedness or comparative isolation of the Central Sahara with/from these neighbouring regions, especially concerning the movement of people, ideas/knowledge and material culture into and out of Fazzan in the pre-Islamic period. Using osteological, craniomorphometrical and isotopic analyses, a team of Cambridge scientists are examining the geographical affinity/ies of Garamantian society, with a view to differentiating individuals who migrated into the central Sahara during their own lifetimes from others of potentially diverse ethnic composition who lived in the region for the duration of the life course. We are also collaborating with colleagues at the University of Leicester to combine Garamantian biological and archaeological evidence to examine how these Saharan communities expressed their identity through material culture, burial ritual and funerary structures.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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