Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


African Peoples and Pasts: Tracing the Trans-Saharan Gold Route from Morocco to Mali

18 January 2018, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Tracing the Trans-Saharan Gold Route from Morocco to Mali

Tracing the Trans-Saharan Gold Route from Morocco to Mali - Archaeological explorations at the caravan towns of Tadmekka and Tamdult

This event is free.

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing

The IAS is pleased to announce a lecture by Sam Nixon as part of the African Studies African Peoples and Pasts series, exploring the early camel caravan routes across the Sahara between the Mediterranean world and West Africa. Like the Silk Road across Central Asia, the trans-Saharan 'Gold Route' represents one of the most important early global trade and exchange networks, with the rich gold resources of West Africa fuelling this trade from at least the early medieval period onwards.

The lecture is focused around Sam Nixon's archaeological research at two of the most important camel caravan towns of the trans-Saharan trade, firstly the work he led at the early Islamic market town of Tadmekka in Mali, and a new collaborative project he is developing at the trading centre and silver mine of Tamdult in southern Morocco. The lecture is being held to mark the launch of Sam Nixon's new edited book Essouk-Tadmekka: an early Islamic trans-Saharan market town, Leiden: Brill (2017).

Dr Sam Nixon is a historical archaeologist whose work explores early global trade and exchange networks, with a particular focus on the medieval and early-modern camel caravan routes spanning the Sahara. He is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies where he holds a Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, during which he is writing a monograph entitled The Gold Route: a history of the trans-Saharan world from pre-Roman times to the era of Timbuktu (London: Thames & Hudson). He is also an associate researcher at the University of East Anglia, and Co-editor of the Journal of African Archaeology.