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Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa

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Caravans Publication

Kathleen Bickford Berzock, ed.

The Block Museum and Princeton University Press

Hardcover | 2019 | $65.00 | ISBN 9780691182681 | 304 pp. | 9 x 11 | 192 color illus.

 

About the book

The Sahara Desert was a thriving crossroads of exchange for West Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe in the medieval period. Fueling this exchange was West African gold, prized for its purity and used for minting currencies and adorning luxury objects such as jewelry, textiles, and religious objects. The publication Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time draws on the latest archaeological discoveries and art historical research to construct a compelling look at medieval trans-Saharan exchange and its legacy. Contributors from diverse disciplines present case studies that form a rich portrayal of a distant time.

Featuring a wealth of color images, this fascinating book demonstrates how the rootedness of place, culture, and tradition is closely tied to the circulation of people, objects, and ideas. These “fragments in time” offer irrefutable evidence of the key role that Africa played in medieval history and promote a new understanding of the past and the present.