Liverpool Gives a Hand to Help Save African Heritage

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), November 16, 2009 | Go to article overview

Liverpool Gives a Hand to Help Save African Heritage


Byline: PETER ELSON

NOT content with opening a campus in China, the University of Liverpool is branching out into the dark continent.

Although not a huge development, in its way this is just as important. At stake is an attempt to save the heritage of a rural African community from extinction. It would also enable future African students to study their past in Liverpool.

The University's School of Classics, Archaeology and Egyptology, founded in 1881, is raising pounds 1m to build a heritage and research centre in Luangwa Valley, Zambia.

Local people from the Kunda and Bisa tribes will be able to preserve aspects of their heritage threatened with obliteration and to nurture traditional skills before they are lost.

Village What we think of as attractive village crafts in the West are being eroded by cheap massproduced industrial imports. crafts are eroded by "I've been working in Zambia for nearly 15 years, and I can see how quickly the heritage of the local peoples is vanishing," says Prof Larry Barham, of the University's School.

imports "Metal and plastic containers are replacing traditional pots, plastic bags take the place of baskets.

"Second-hand clothing from the UK being sold at local markets, undermining the indigenous textile industry.

"The centre aims to save some of this rural area's precious history for future generations and growing numbers of tourists to enjoy."

Not only will the centre display the area's abundant natural history, but also allow Liverpool's archaeologists to show the results of their research in the valley.

The University has a long history of archaeological research in Africa and for the last six years Prof Barham has led research in the Luangwa Valley.

He has uncovered evidence of humans in the region reaching back at least 2m years. The systematic sampling of south Luangwa's archaeological treasures has produced a wealth of artefacts, ranging from early stone tools to pottery which is just a few hundred years old. …

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