Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Divine Fertility: Practices, Materiality and Sacred Landscapes in the Horn of Africa

This project examines the notion of sacred fertility and sacred landscapes, associated rituals and material culture, both archaeological and ethnographic manifestations in the Horn of Africa.

Duration
2006  -   2020
Contact
Sada Mire
The Shrine of Saint Aw-Barkhadle near Hargeysa, Somaliland.

The archaeology, ethnography and history of the peoples of North-East Africa, particularly Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Kenya. It focuses on the indigenous institutions and pre-Christian and pre-Islamic belief systems, material culture, (rock) art, rituals, practices and landscapes. It is a multidisciplinary project studying past and present ritual practices through archaeological and anthropological methodologies, historical texts, historical linguistics, ethno-botany and archaeozoology. This project examines the notion of sacred landscapes, associated rituals and material culture, both archaeological and ethnographic manifestations in the Horn of Africa.

Tiire plant (Rotheca myricoides) used for fertility purposes

The project is a multidisciplinary project looking at archaeology, cultural, social and medical anthropology, history and linguistics. It uses the Sufi Saint Shrine of Aw-Barkhadle in Somaliland as a departure to explore further in Somalia and Ethiopia the notion of fertility and its manifestation in practices, myths, legends and ancestors.

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