Soil scientist Dr. Paul Adderley has begun work on the Crossroads of Empire project. Funded by the European Research Council, the five-year interdisciplinary project includes scholars and scientists studying the emergence of powerful West African empires between 1200 and 1850 AD. Centred in the region around the Niger river in the modern country of Benin, the project involves extensive fieldwork aimed at discovering and characterising new archaeological sites in an effort to understanding the emergence of historical urban societies.
Dr Adderley commented, "The development of early of urban centres in this region and these centres' demands on natural resources from a hinterland provide a unique geoarchaeological challenge."
Dr. Adderley is based at Stirling's School of Biological & Environmental Sciences and is Director of the university's Research Centre for Environmental History and Policy.
To follow the project's progress, check out their blog at http://crossroadsofempires.wordpress.com/ .