Professor of African and Islamic Archaeology

1Both volumes are available from or

Together with Urbanism, Archaeology and Trade, these two volumes present the results of a major project completed between 1993-1996 in the city of Gao and its surrounding region on the River Niger in Mali. Gao is considered from its origins in the sixth to seventh centuries AD through to the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries AD. Excavations delimited various components of the merchants’ town; part of a mosque, a stone defensive wall and a rich merchants’ house/palace, as well as areas of a neighbouring quarter, Gadei, where architectural traditions and by implication influences and potentially populations differed. The results of test-excavations at the immense tell site of Gao-Saney, and at Koima on the opposite bank of the Niger are also described. The beads, ceramics, metals, hippopotamus ivory, glass, faunal and botanical remains etc. recovered, are all described and illustrated. Prior research is considered at length in relation to trans-Saharan trade in the ‘medieval’ period, and to theories of Islamisation in the region, especially the ‘three-fold’, nomads, traders/townspeople, sedentary agriculturalist model. The research is contextualised within its wider setting in relation to sites associated with the Empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai.