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25th Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA) Conference

Online meeting
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The 25th Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA) Conference will be held online from 14-15 August 2021.

The conference was originally planned for 21-24 September 2020.

*Update from the organizers, April 2020*

It had been our hope that it might still have been possible to hold the 25th meeting of SAfA on schedule this September, but regrettably this no longer seems possible. Following discussions in the recently created CMC (Covid Matters Committee) it has therefore been decided to postpone any face-to-face components of this year’s meeting until (provisionally) August 2021.

Further announcements will be made on the official website regarding confirmed dates.



The theme of the conference is "African archaeology — a 20:20 vision for the future."

Conference program

Access all details here.


As SAfA celebrates its 25th biennial conference and approaches the 50th anniversary of the 1971 meeting in Urbana, Illinois, that ultimately led to its creation, organizers wish to look to the long-term to explore the future of African archaeology in as holistic a way as possible.

In emphasizing this theme of a 20:20 vision for the discipline, organizers wish to enhance the ways in which the theory and practice of African archaeology and its methods, procedures, and ethical underpinnings can support the priorities of the peoples of Africa and the Diaspora.

At the same time, organizers look forward to suggestions from SAfA’s members for symposia that explore some of the key challenges confronting Africa’s inhabitants and their heritage, including:

- the management, valorization, and interpretationof cultural heritage;

- the role of archaeology and of archaeological heritage in facilitating sustainable development and resilient societies;

- the improved understanding of the long-term relationships between people and the environments, climates, and disease regimes within which they live now and in the past;

- ethical, social ustice, and humanitarian issues arising from the legacies of earlier forms of archaeological practice concerning the continent and its peoples.

Organizers are also keen to encourage symposium organizers to highlight the creative potential of collaboration with — and insights from — colleagues in related disciplines, such as anthropology, genetics, geography, history, and palaeoanthropology.

Such sessions may wish to focus on:

- advances in specific methodological or theoretical fields of research;

- novel insights into the histories of particular regions or periods of the African past;

- research results from specific ongoing or recently completed field projects;

- or the exploration of connections and the comparison of historical trajectories between different regions of Africa.

One of SAfA’s highest priorities is to integrate scholars at all career stages and from all backgrounds into a single, thriving, intellectual community. Organizers therefore strongly encourage symposium organizers to pursue contributions from a diverse range of colleagues, including postdoctoral researchers, students and others.

Further information

Go to the official website:

Emails can be sent to: (safa2020[at]arch[dot]ox[dot]ac[dot]uk)

PAGES' working group session

LandCover6k: The PAGES LandCover6K Land Use Group in Africa: Benefits and Drawbacks of a Global Initiative

Convenors: Nadia Khalaf, Stefania Merlo and Leanne Phelps


It has been acknowledged that land-use and land-cover scenarios used for climate modelling are simplistic, limited, and often incorrect, making them unrealistic. As such, the PAGES LandCover6k initiative aims to produce data driven reconstructions of past land-cover and land-use at continental and global spatial scales.

The LandCover6k working group seeks to create comprehensive maps of human land use for different time-slices. The classification system used is the result of several years of consultation and refinement at workshops and meetings across research groups. Several methodological and practical challenges of developing generalized land use categories have been discussed within regional chapters. Although the African chapter of the project has participated in several working group meetings, issues central to the creation of land-use maps in Africa have not hitherto been discussed within the broader community of Africanist archaeologists.

This symposium seeks to engage participants in a discussion on how the LandCover6k classification fits (or doesn’t) in Africa. The session aims, first, to exemplify some of the work done so far on classification systems and regional maps, and second, to dive into vivid case studies and perspectives that illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of global land use classification approaches, as well as the political implications behind existing forms of land use representation in Africa. In order to accomplish this, perspectives across the Africanist community are essential; we therefore put forward an open invitation for talks that will provoke debate and novel perspectives surrounding these key issues.