Established in 2007, the HEEAL project existed as a formal research programme funded by a European Union Marie Curie Excellence Grant until 2011, and now functions as an interdisciplinary network of researchers exploring landscape change and long-term human-environment interactions in eastern Africa.
From an initial focus on the social, economic and environmental consequences of the 19th-century ivory trade in north-eastern Tanzania through archaeological, historical, geoecological and bioarchaeological research, HEEAL has subsequently expanded both its geographical and temporal range to include multi-proxy examinations of soil erosion histories in the Pare Mountains of Tanzania over the last 2000 years; in-depth zooarchaeological research into dietary changes of Zigua communities during the 18th and 19th centuries; archaeometallurgical examinations of the hypothesis that historic iron production caused or exacerbated deforestation; and has pioneered the use of stable and radiogenic isotopes in the provenancing of historic elephant ivory.
Historical and anthropological work exploring forest management, soil erosion, and the maintenance and construction of agricultural terraces takes this research up to the present day, as do applications of the innovative ivory provenancing techniques within wildlife conservation. Through the original EU funding and subsequent grants from the British Academy, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Marie Curie International Training Network scheme, HEEAL now has active case-studies and collaborative research projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
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Contact: Dr. Paul Lane, HEEAL, Department of Archaeology, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP
Tel: +44 (0)1904 433966