Visualizzazione dei post da Giugno, 2017

Finally out the Proceedings of the Flora Trade between Egypt and Africa in antiquity seminar held in Naples (April 2015)

In recent decades, study of the ancient Egyptian natural world and its classification has adopted innovative approaches involving new technologies of analysis and a multidisciplinary general view. This collection of papers focuses on one particularly important aspect of foreign trade: the importation of aromatic products. Contributors present the results of the latest researches into the origin and meaning of foreign aromatic products imported in Egypt from the south (Nubia, Punt, Arabia, Horn of Africa) from the beginning of the Dynastic period. The quest for aromata has been of a crucial importance in Egypt, since it was closely connected with economic, political, ideological, religious and mythic spheres. Through archaeological research, epigraphic analysis and iconographic investigations new evidence is explored supporting the most likely hypothesis about the sources of these raw ma…

Latest in the ATRA series: ATRA 3 - Cultural and Linguistic transition exlored

And finally, the proceedings of the ATRA closing workshop are now available online - open access!

The ATrA Workshop was held in Trieste (Italy) on May 24-26, 2016 with the aim of discussing the possible dimensions and varieties related to phenomena of cultural and linguistic transition in Africa. Identity negotiation, ethnicity and cultural affiliation, cases of contact, creolization, integration, urbanization, climate or cultural changes, language and cultural switch, market exchanges and human migration have been put on the table, generating a very concrete and fruitful discussion. The case studies collected in this miscellaneous book, give an idea of the multi-faceted dimensions of the debate, which ranges by necessity from anthropology to archaeology and from philology to linguistics, in a continuous alternation of disciplines, voices and styles. Mechanisms of resilience and adaptation to new situations and contexts are described through an investigation which in many cases has the…
Well, here we are, the ATRA adventure, or at least the original project funded by the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research in the years 2013-2016, has come to its end.

Anyway, this blog aims to keep our debate and our researches alive, giving us and our friends all around the world, the opportunity to share on a common and easy-to-access platform their ideas, researches and events related to phenomena of linguistic and cultural transition in Africa.

Therefore, we will be happy if you will join us: sign in and stay tuned!

Let us introduce ourselves: ATRA at the University of Napoli "L'Orientale"

Principal investigator: Ilaria Incordino
Internal members: Giorgio Banti, Gianfrancesco Lusini, Andrea Manzo
Associate members: Chiara Zazzaro, Rodolfo Fattovich, Luisa Sernicola, Stefano Manfredi
External members: Alemseged Beldados Aleho (Addis Ababa University)  The research team includes experts in the field of philology, ethnolinguistics and archeology aiming to understand the human being in its various facets and in its various historical, social and environmental contexts of the Horn of Africa. Philologists and ethnolinguists analyse literatures and languages and the impact that external phenomena had on literatures and languages during the past, so as in the present. Archaeologists collect, document and analyse the material traces that people have left. They study ancient societies and cultures and their relationship with the surrounding environment. The common objective is to describe historical, cognitive and cultural identity phenomena, to increase awareness of the human being…

Let us introduce ourselves: ATRA at the University of Turin - the original composition

Principal investigator: Dario Nappo
Internal members: Mauro Tosco
Associate members: Graziano Savà The group based in Turin counts on one historian and one linguist. Its goal is to be the link between the two units of Trieste and Naples. The main tie between the members of the unit is their scientific interest for an homogeneous geographical area in Africa, delimited by South Egypt, Sudan (especially South Sudan), and the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and Eritrea). Clearly, the methods used by the members will be different, according to the personal scientific project of each of them. On the one side, the linguist, in cooperation with the experts from Naples, will be mainly interested in studying the changing linguistic scenario nowadays attested in the newly born state of South Sudan, documenting and analyzing the languages spoken in the area. The historian, along with the colleagues of the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, will focus on the political and military relations in the area of…

Let us introduce ourselves: ATRA at the University of Trieste

Principal investigator:Ilaria MicheliInternal members: Franco Crevatin
External members: Ethnorêma association (Moreno Vergari and Giovanni Dore) Our team is made up of ethnolinguists and anthropologists, researchers whose first aim is to understand different ethnic and social groups in their different ways of thought and ecological contexts. Ethnolinguists go through problems of identity, cognition and culture using language as a key tool. Any language, in fact, witness of many aspects of the evolution of its speakers and of the contacts and influences they had with / from other people in the past. Anthropologists reach the same objective, studying people’s habits, their ways of doing things, their mechanisms of socialization, the tools they use in everyday life, their beliefs and their values. We are a mixed team because we think that the dialogue between, and the union of, different perspectives are pivotal to enrich and complete a picture of the world which we would like to be as r…

Latest in Archaeology: a new paper by Andrea Manzo

Manzo A. (2017) "Architecture, Power, and Communication: Case Studies from Ancient Nubia" in African Archaeology Review 34: 121-143

Abstract: Monumental architectural remains are among the most impressive relics of the ancient civilizations. Of course, this is also true for ancient northeast Africa. In this contribution, monumental architecture is considered not just as a static marker and manifestation of power, often embedding the state itself in the landscape, but as a location, a setting for performing public activities which are producing and replicating social relations. Some case studies of the Kerma and Meroitic cultures of ancient Nubia are discussed. Hypotheses on the ceremonies taking place are proposed.

Download paper here

Latest in Archaeology: A new book by Andrea Manzo

Manzo A. (2017)Eastern Sudan in its Setting. The archaeology of a region far from the Nile Valley. Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology, 94.

"Eastern Sudan, like other regions far away from the Nile valley, has been overlooked historically on account of a kind of prejudice towards areas lacking in monumental or urban remains or evidence of any literary produc on. Despite the relevance of the deserts and marginal areas becoming increasingly evident in the last year or so, in Sudan only few research projects have been conducted in these regions. The ongoing research project in Eastern Sudan by the University ‘L’Orientale’ has provided a preliminary reconstruc on of the history of the region from c. 6000 BC to AD 1500. This publica on outlines this reconstruc on and also considers the more general se ng known for the other regions of northeastern Africa. Several issues remain to be clari ed and understanding of some phases is s ll limited, neverthe- less it can be safely state…

Latest in Anthropology/Linguistics: ATRA 2 - Son of the root. Djedwa Yao Kuman Kulango healer and hunter. EUT 2017

“Son of the Root” is the result of 12 months of field research in the Kulango village (Gur-Voltaic) of Nassian in Côte d’Ivoire. The author, whose Profilo Grammaticale e Vocabolario della Lingua Kulango – published by the University of Naples “L’Orientale” in 2007 – stands as the first grammatical description of the Kulango language, examines the Kulango world of natural medicine and hunting, following the story and memories of the village’s last traditional healer: Djedwa Yao Kuman, who died on 24th October, 2008 at the age of approximately 80. In addition to an anthropological discussion of Kulango traditional medicine and hunting, the book presents a rich collection of texts in Kulango, translated into English, with more than 1400 comments in the footnotes.

The book is the second volume of the ATRA series and it is available for free as an open access resource at:

An Italian version of the book is also available at the link:


ATRA 1 - Materiality and Identity - EUT 2017

ATRA 1 - Materiality and Identity - EUT 2017 is the first volume of the ATRA series. Edited by Ilaria Micheli (ATRA's Principal Investigator) and Franco Crevatin and published by EUT (Edizioni Università di Trieste) in 2016, the book is available for free as an open access resource at:
"In each and every discourse on issues such as contact, evolution, transition, migration, integration and encounter, identity plays a central role. Being a manifold, uneasily describable object in itself, identity represents a very difficult object of study and many scholars from different disciplines of the human sciences (psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers and linguists) have tried in recent years to give their contribution to the debate born around it. In the two meetings organized in Naples, April 14th 2015 and Turin, October 8-9th 2015 in the framework of the ATrA project, the issue has been discussed by archaeo…

List of (some of) the team's publications

The ATRA team has been (and continues to be) very productive in its academic publications. Here below you find a list of some of the personal titles written by our staff in these years. Some of them give you access to a direct link allowing you a free download of the paper. Enjoy your readings!
Micheli, I. (2016) “We are indigenous and we want to be literate in our own language”. The Ogiek of Mariashoni: a good example of how a literacy project with the best premises can be a failure” in AION, vol 76. Brill.Micheli, I. (2016) “Living a Kulango life: Examples of Socialization in the Shadow of the Laasagyo” in Acquaviva G., Tosco M. Immagini Culturali del Regno Vegetale. Aspetti simbolici e prospettive interpretative, KERVAN. Torino: Università degli Studi di Torino.Manzo A. (2015). “… nella tua terra l’oro è come polvere”. La gestione del commercio nell’Africa nordorientale durante l’Età del Bronzo. In L. Caterina e B. Genito (eds.), Archeologia delle Vie della Seta. Percorsi, Immagini …

Atra in Horizon 2020

Due to its recent, colonial and post colonial history Africa, together with Asia, represents an important attraction for all EU countries. If on the one hand the struggle for existential security brings year after year an always larger number of immigrants on the EU territory, on the other hand the crisis of the global market leads a growing number of public and private investors to create cooperative project with / in developing countries. International cooperation in Africa is often a problem due to political, economic and demographic instability of partner countries and the first step towards a sustainable development should be to eliminate the reasons of this instability and to create the right conditions to enable the shaping of inclusive, innovative and above all safe society. This is also one of the specific aims contemplated in Horizon 2020’s priority Challenges of Society. Given that ATrA will focus on all the factors involved in the construction, re-shaping and modification…

Our Original Goals

11 CASE STUDIES1) "Language, culture, identity in the buffer region of the Nassian prefecture (Côte d'Ivoire)".
Located in the North-Eastern part of the country, the region of Nassian represents the border between the Voltaic world of the Savannah (Gur languages), based on a village tradition with a bi- or patrilineal descent modality, and the world of the great Akan- Ashanti culture of gold, based on sacred kingship and matrilineal descent. Therefore it constitutes an important field for the study of the mechanisms of linguistic and cultural identity negotiation of the Gur minorities (Djimini, Lohron and Lobi).
- Ilaria Micheli - Units,Trieste

2) "Linguistic and Cultural Ethnogenesis of the Bawlé of Côte d'Ivoire".
According to their tradition, the Bawlé were born from a branch of the Ashante nobles, guided from princess Abla Poku, escaping from the civil war burnt out after the death of King Osei Tutu at the end of the XVIII century. In their way westwards, …

Description of our original project

OUR PROJECT ATrA meets the third priority of the EU program for research Horizon 2020 (Challenges of Society) and aims to an important methodological and theoretical contribution to one of the currently central issues in the field of integration and cooperation to development: the safeguard of identity.

Our work will mainly focus on areas of transition in East Africa and on the contrast between local and global dimensions of modernity. We see this study as a premise for the defense of human rights and as a necessary step towards a real participation of local communities to an economical renewal of developing countries.

Cultural and ethnic identity is nowadays one of the most debated questions on an international level. Even though we admit that a prototypical X identity is characteristic of a human group, we also must admit that the farther we move from a paradigmatic centre to its periphery, the more we find ourselves in fuzzy areas, which we can call "of transition". Howeve…