The Western Sahara Project may have been keeping a low profile lately, but behind the scenes we’ve been working furiously to complete a book detailing the findings of Phase 1 of the Project, which consisted of eight seasons of fieldwork from 2002 to 2009. The book will have the undramatic title “The Prehistory of Western Sahara: A Synthesis of Fieldwork, 2002 to 2009” and will be published by Oxbow later this year (hopefully by November). A draft has been submitted to Oxbow and is currently with reviewers.
The book will have eight chapters, which will address wider archaeological and environmental contexts, environmental survey work, reconnaissance or ‘extensive’ survey work throughout the Polisario-controlled areas or ‘Free Zone’, intensive survey work in a limited area north of Tifariti, and excavations in the intensively surveyed area. A chapter is dedicated to the chipped stone record, and another to the typology of built stone features (including but not limited to monumental funerary structures). The final discussion chapter places the archaeology of the Free Zone in its wider Sahara context, and discusses affinities with the Atlantic Europe interaction sphere.
Currently we have no plans to return to the field in 2013, which will be spent producing some additional publications and sourcing funding for Phase 2 of the Project. We hope to return to the field in 2014, subject to the availability of funding.
We will be contacting people who have expressed an interest in volunteering for fieldwork in due course, and will maintain a mailing list of those interested in participating in fieldwork, so that we can send out updates about any future field seasons.