UCL Urban Laboratory


Reviewer meets Reviewed: The Masons of Djenne

17 October 2013, 10:00 am–12:00 pm

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Anthropology Library and Research Centre, British Museum

The British Museum's Anthropology Library and Research Centre, in conjunction with the Royal Anthropological Institute, is pleased to present the first seminar in the 2013-14 series of 'Reviewer meets Reviewed', a discussion between Professor Trevor Marchand, author of 'The Masons of Djenne', and Dr Clare Melhuish, UCL Urban Laboratory Research Associate, who reviewed the book for the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

The town of Djenné on the Bani River in Mali has been a thriving settlement for more than two millennia. Renowned for its mud-brick architecture, monumental mosque, and merchant-traders' houses, Djenné remains one of Africa's most distinctive cities. The Masons of Djenné follows Trevor Marchand after he signs on as a builder's apprentice. Marchand takes readers on his journey from raw labourer to skilled craftsman. He explores the professional associations of masons, their social networks, training regimes, and changing fortunes. With his fellow builders, he produces mud bricks and plasters, constructs walls and ceilings, and sculpts rooftop crenellations using specialised tools. Marchand describes the raising of a mud-brick house and explores the technical, social, and magical processes involved in making buildings and renewing the unique urban environment of Djenné.

This is a free event. 

Bookings/enquiries: Ted Goodliffe TGoodliffe@britishmuseum.org