Neil Norman, Professsor of Archaeology"



Since 1999, I have investigated the material dimension of 17th and 18th century Huedan Vodun.  This research draws comparisons between modern Vodun material culture and archaeological material excavated by Kenneth Kelly at the site of Savi, the 17th and 18th century palatial capital of the Hueda kingdom and a trading center that attracted traders and emissaries from throughout West Africa and Western Europe.  Despite extensive documentary records describing Savi, our understanding of the broader Hueda kingdom is still in its developing stages.  In 2003-2005, I directed archaeological survey and test excavations on countryside sites surrounding Savi.  The research is aimed at describing the social, political, and economic ties that bound countryside to palace and vice versa.  On a more poignant level, archaeological fieldwork revealed that a majority of the Savi countryside was burned and the structures razed in a catastrophic campaign of conquest in March of 1727.