Institute of Archaeology


Letters to a young archaeologist: Reclaiming African History

18 May 2023

Johanna Zetterstrom Sharp (UCL Institute of Archaeology) and colleagues have contributed to the Council for British Archaeology's 'Letters to a young archaeologist' series.

Woman with long light brown hair, wearing a black suit with a colourful shirt, standing in front of a museum display case containing multi-coloured artefacts relating to African cultural heritage

The innovation project 'Reclaiming African History' supported a group of young people with African and/or Caribbean heritage to undertake research on African history and collections.

It was based at the Horniman Museum in South London and the UCL Institute of Archaeology and supported by UCL's Knowledge Exchange and Innovation funding, awarded to Alice Stevenson and Rachel King in partnership with the Horniman Museum.

Orange background image with a quote by Johanna Zetterstrom Sharp in light-coloured text "...recognising that whose knowledge counts in the interpretation of history, matters."

The programme was inspired by research undertaken for Ode to the Ancestors, an exhibition at the Horniman that commemorates and celebrates the African Kenyan archaeologists whose names are absent from archaeological archives. 

Students were asked to develop projects that responded to the question; what does reclaiming African history mean to you? Their creative responses form a central part of the Ode to the Ancestors exhibition, open until December 2023. 

In the collection of voice notes Sherry Davis, Curator of Ode to the Ancestors, and Johanna Zetterstrom Sharp, former Senior Curator of Anthropology at the Horniman, and now at UCL, share their reflections on the project. 

Students Barakat Omomayowa, Nesserine Bouda, Paige Michel and Leanne Ingram have shared their responses, along with project co-ordinator Saava Benjamin Busenze Balagadde.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSFiRVlJpCA&embeds_referring_euri=https%...


Further details