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Long regarded as disturbing remnants of the Atlantic slave trade, the European forts and castles of West Africa have attained iconic positions as universally significant historical monuments and world heritage tourist destinations. This volume of original contributions by leading Africanists presents extensive new historical views of the forts in Ghana and Benin, providing both impetus and a scholarly basis for further research and fresh debate about their historical and geographical contexts; their role in the slave trade; the economic and political connections, centred on the forts, between the Europeans and local African polities; and their place in variously focused heritage studies and endeavours.

Contributors are Hermann W. von Hesse, Daniel Hopkins, Jon Olav Hove, Ole Justesen, Ineke van Kessel, Robin Law, John Kwadwo Osei-Tutu, Jarle Simensen, Selena Axelrod Winsnes†, Larry Yarak.
An Early Islamic Trans-Saharan Market Town
Editor: Sam Nixon
Essouk-Tadmekka presents the first archaeological exploration of one of the most important market towns on the trans-Saharan camel-caravan routes in the early Islamic period, supplying West African gold, slaves, and ivory to the Mediterranean world. Excavation of Essouk-Tadmekka’s ruins – in Saharan West Africa – has enabled Sam Nixon and a team of scholars to better understand this town described by early Arabic geographers, therein providing insights into such wider questions as the origins of trans-Saharan trade, the commerce in gold, and the arrival of Islamic culture in West Africa. This window into the earliest period of trans-Saharan exchange includes illustration of some of the best-preserved ruins along the camel-caravan routes, the earliest-known Arabic writing in West Africa, and rare gold-working remains.

Contributors are: Stephanie Black, Sophie Desrosiers, Laure Dussubieux, Thomas Fenn, Dorian Fuller, James Lankton, Kevin MacDonald, Paulo de Moraes Farias, Mary-Anne Murray, Sam Nixon, Thilo Rehren, Peter Robertshaw, Jane Sidell, and Benoit Suzanne.