Expanding our understanding of humanity's deep history across Africa

Expanding our understanding of humanity's deep history across Africa

  • Professor Paul Lane (image courtesy of the REAL Project, Uppsala University)
    Professor Paul Lane

Image used with kind permission of the Resilience in East African Landscapes Project, Uppsala University

Professor Paul Lane has been appointed as the inaugural Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professor of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa at the University.

Paul will lead ambitious research projects and teaching initiatives that will advance and expand our understanding of humanity’s deep to more recent history across Africa, shaping a dynamic future.

Professor Cyprian Broodbank, Head of the Department of Archaeology

“I am honoured to have been appointed to the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professorship of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa, and excited by the opportunity it provides for teaching and research on all periods of African archaeology at the University,” said Professor Lane.

Professor Lane was the Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa for eight years, based in Nairobi, from 1998-2006. He directed and coordinated the 'Historical Ecologies of East African Landscapes' project at the University of York and has been the Professor of Global Archaeology at Uppsala University in Sweden since 2013.

Professor Cyprian Broodbank, Head of the Department of Archaeology, commented: "Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role and will lead ambitious research projects and teaching initiatives that will advance and expand our understanding of humanity’s deep to more recent history across Africa, shaping a dynamic future built upon the continent’s unique history, cultural heritage and achievements."

"Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Jonathan and Jennifer Oppenheimer Foundation we are delighted to announce Professor Paul Lane as the inaugural Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professor of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa."

The importance of understanding the past

Adds Professor Lane: “The inauguration of this Professorship sends an important signal regarding Africa’s remarkable contributions to global archaeology, and the importance of understanding the deep past for trying to address some of the many challenges facing the continent today. To do this, we need new cross-disciplinary conversations about Africa’s pasts and how and why they are relevant to its future."

“I hope, too, that by facilitating deeper public understanding and engagement with the continent’s archaeology, in collaboration with colleagues here in the UK, on the continent and around the world, we can enhance global commitment to protecting its rich heritage for future generations," he concluded.

Professor Lane's main research interests are in the organisation and use of space and time in pre-industrial societies, the historical ecology of African landscapes, the archaeology of colonial encounters, cultural perceptions of place, the materialisation of memory, maritime archaeology and the transition to farming in Africa.

A vibrant community of scholars and students

Professor Lane will also be named the Mandela Magdalene Memorial Fellow at Magdalene College in memory of Nelson Mandela, who was an Honorary Fellow of the College. Magdalene College has a proud tradition of association with Africa and this Fellowship will ensure the Professor joins a vibrant community of scholars and students undertaking research across the continent’s varied history and present.

Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene, comments: “We are very glad indeed as a College to welcome the appointment of such a globally distinguished and internationally experienced archaeologist to this new position. We greatly look forward to having Professor Lane as a colleague and to the contribution he will make both to the University and the College.”

Professor Lane will take up the post in the Department of Archaeology later in 2018.

 

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