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Africa on the Move Conference

This three-day conference is being held to mark the 10th anniversary of the African Archaeology Group and the John Alexander seminar series at the University of Cambridge.
When Sep 08, 2017 11:50 AM to
Sep 10, 2017 11:50 AM
Where McDonald Institute, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3ER and Biffen Lecture Theatre, 8 Tennis Ct Rd, Cambridge CB2 1QJ
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The dispersal of our species out of Africa sits prominently in the popular imagination while internal African diversity has received relatively little attention. In this conference we wish to focus on the dispersal of people, artefacts, and ideas within Africa throughout the ages.

The structure of diversity within Africa is a critical issue, even for ‘Out of Africa’ questions. Africa is a vast area and its internal human diversity is unparalleled. Recent studies have shown that not only is there great ecological variation within Africa but also that the pattern of this variation has changed radically over time, with phenomena such as the ‘Green Sahara.’ Isolated languages and diverse morphologies in human remains hint at contrasting patterns of ethno-linguistic diversity in the past as distinct from those visible today. New research is beginning to draw coherent pictures of the origins and spread of epoch-changing technologies such as metallurgy and agro-pastoralism. Sourcing studies are allowing us to reconstruct ancient trade networks linking different parts of the continent. Archaeology is also providing a fresh perspective on the spread of ideas in the recent historical past. The main aim of the conference is to focus on interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary research.

Hence, ‘Africa on the Move’ seeks to examine the internal diversity of the African continent, an under-explored focus of Africanist research. In this conference we wish to focus on three aspects of our topic, the dispersal of People, Artefacts, and Ideas within Africa itself throughout the ages. We seek to explore an interdisciplinary approach to African archaeology within these themes, and to bring together a range of leading researchers in the field from around the globe including a large contingent of scholars based in Africa. Presentations are intended as a springboard for general discussion of each theme, both individually at the conclusion of each theme and for the entire conference on the Sunday afternoon.

It is intended that the conference will build a dynamic picture to enhance our understanding of diversity within and throughout the African continent.


Registration Closing date for registration is 31st July 2017


Second Call for Papers and Further Information The deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to the 15th April 2017; acceptances will be announced by the 25th April.


Map:  Biffen Lecture Theatre

Showcasing research highlights and outreach for the academic year 2015-2016

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Upcoming events

Africa on the Move Conference

Sep 08, 2017

McDonald Institute, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3ER and Biffen Lecture Theatre, 8 Tennis Ct Rd, Cambridge CB2 1QJ

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