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Department of Archaeology


The archaeology of Sub-Saharan Africa is rapidly gaining momentum, thanks to renewed efforts to decolonise and empower indigenous narratives of agency and creativity that have been bolstered further by the increasing application of scientific methods. However, important challenges remain. One is the scarcity of training and archaeological science capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, which is necessary to make these efforts sustainable. A second one is the limited integration of African case studies in the broader literature on technological invention, craft organisation and trade, with most synthetic or comparative publications still dominated by the Near East or Europe.

The Archaeological Science and Technology in Africa Initiative (ASTA) aims to contribute to the strengthening and consolidation of scientific studies of indigenous African technologies by African scholars. It will employ a two-tier approach, combining applied research projects with training and local capacity building in archaeological science. 

ASTA is led jointly by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (University of Cambridge) and the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Centre (The Cyprus Institute), in partnership with the University of Ibadan (Nigeria). 


A.G. Leventis Foundation

Team Members

Marcos Martinón-Torres
Thilo Rehren
Kolawoke Adekola

Project Tags

Science, Technology and Innovation
Material Culture
Periods of interest: 
Iron Age
Other Historical
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Socio-Politics of the Past
Artefact Analysis & Technology
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