The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, by journalist Joshua Hammer, tells the incredible story of Abdel Kader Haidara — a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu — who organized a successful effort to outwit Al-Qaeda and preserve Mali’s greatest treasures in 2012. In this Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE) exclusive, James Blake Wiener speaks to Joshua Hammer about Haidara’s life and work, in addition to the importance of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts.
Located at the intersection of long distance trade between East Africa, the ancient Near East, and the classical world, ancient Nubia was Egypt’s rich and powerful neighbor to the South. Successive Nubian cultures dominated what is modern-day Sudan and southern Egypt for over two millennia, developing in turn a distinctive set of cultural aesthetics and an impressive level of craftsmanship. Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia, a new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, entices visitors with 95 items on display, including jewels, gems, and exquisite artifacts of personal adornment.
The Zamani Project attempts to record the “spatial” domain of African patrimony by recording its physical, architectural, and natural dimensions. The documentation project was initiated to increase international awareness of African heritage and provide material for research while, concurrently, creating a permanent and accurate record of important sites for restoration and conservation purposes. The spatial data acquired by The Zamani Project is made available worldwide and augmented with contextual non-spatial data by ALUKA. The Zamani Project was an initiative of the Geomatics Division of the University of Cape Town and is currently supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The endeavor, founded as “The African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes Project,” developed out of years of heritage documentation activities by the project‘s Principal Investigator, Professor Heinz Rüther. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Professor Heinz Rüther about the project, ancient Africa, and the need for the conservation of Africa’s patrimony.