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Keynote speaker announced for international conference

18 February 2020

Dr Sada Mire
Dr Sada Mire

A world authority on the archaeology of Northeast Africa has been named as the keynote speaker at an international conference taking place in Cardiff this year.

Dr Sada Mire will deliver a lecture entitled ‘The Archaeological Heritage of the Somali Horn of Africa’ at the international African Studies Association UK (ASAUK) conference which is taking place at the School of Law and Politics this September.

Dr Mire is an award-winning Swedish-Somali archaeologist with a PhD from UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. She was the founding director of Somaliland’s Department of Archaeology until 2012 and has published extensively on the history, culture and archaeology of Northeast Africa. Commissioned features on her work appear regularly in the international media, including Channel Four in the UK. She is founder and executive director of Horn Heritage Organisation, an archaeology and heritage research institution with offices in the Horn of Africa and The Netherlands.

Dr Mire’s lecture will present the rich archaeological heritage of the Somali Horn of Africa, which only now is being revealed and systematically studied. This recent archaeological work has brought to light the vast indigenous, pre-Christian and pre-Islamic empires that at times formed part of the HimyaIrite and Sabaean cultures of Southern Arabia, Greco-Roman world and Aksumite world and early Islamic kingdoms. This region is an ancient cultural crossroads and its heritage testifies to social complexity and cultural diversity. The lecture will discuss the role of this heritage in the current challenges facing the societies of the Horn of Africa.

Dr Mire’s keynote in Cardiff will be followed by an invited lecture at the British Academy in its Global Perspectives Series.

“Dr Sada Mire has been at the forefront of reviving archaeological research and heritage management in Somalia and Somaliland, after years of understandable neglect as a consequence of internal civil war and the more recent impacts of radical Islam across the region. With the support of the Somaliland government, she has rebuilt local heritage services in an imaginative manner drawing on indigenous conceptualisations of heritage values and heritage making. in so doing, Dr Mire has provided a genuinely post-colonial approach toward heritage protection and conservation in the country and how best to mobilise knowledge and memory of Somalia's deep past for the greater benefit of current and future generations.”

Paul Lane, Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professor of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa, University of Cambridge

Professor James Hegarty, Head of the School of History, Archaeology, and Religion at Cardiff University said: “We are very pleased that this flagship event will be held in Cardiff during the centenary year of the creation of the Archaeology Department at Cardiff University. We look forward to the involvement of Cardiff archaeologists in a roundtable on Evidence, Memory and Receptions of Africa in Britain: Perspectives from Archaeology and Early History.”

ASAUK’s biennial conference will be hosted by the Law and Global Justice Centre in the School of Law and Politics on 8-10 September 2020. The conference has received support in the form of bursaries from the College of Arts and Humanities at Cardiff University; The British Academy; and The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. Registration for the conference will open at the end of February on the ASAUK website.

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