SAFA Conference Experience

Author: Dr Linus Ajikah (Postdoctoral Fellow, Evolutionary Studies Institute, WITS University)

“I had the incredible privilege of attending the 26th Biannual conference of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists held at Rice University in Houston, Texas, USA from June 1 to 6, 2023, my sincere gratitude to the Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) for the great opportunity. The event had a blend of academics from different areas of palaeosciences bringing together a diverse array of in-person and online attendees who shared a deep passion for African archaeology and past environments. The conference was a melting pot of ideas, where renowned scholars and emerging researchers engaged in stimulating discussions, presenting groundbreaking research findings, and sharing innovative methodologies.

One of the standout moments of the conference was the enchanting gala night held on the second day. The fusion of academic dialogues during the gala exemplified the holistic approach that the Society of Africanist Archaeologists fostered. Moreover, the excursion to the Space Center Houston provided a refreshing interlude, allowing participants to explore the cutting-edge advances in technology and human exploration while reflecting on the historical journeys of cultures and societal developments that have shaped the world. Overall, the conference was a transformative experience that not only enriched my understanding of African archaeology but also left me inspired by the collective dedication of the different communities to preserve and unravel the mysteries of Africa’s past.
Presenting my research on “Preliminary Palynological Evidence from Sediments of a Coastal Estuary in Lagos, Southern Nigeria” at the 26th Biannual conference of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists undoubtedly marks a significant milestone in my academic journey. This platform not only allowed me to share my findings with a diverse audience of scholars and experts but also provided me with invaluable insights and feedback that can deeply shape my research trajectory. Engaging in discussions and receiving constructive criticism from fellow researchers and archaeologists from various disciplines might have opened new avenues for refining my research methodologies and interpretations.

Moreover, the exposure I gained from presenting at such a prestigious conference will greatly enhance my academic visibility and credibility within the field of African palaeoscience and archaeology. The discussions sparked by my presentation would lead to potential collaborations, future research opportunities, and connections with professionals who share my passion. This experience also reaffirms my commitment to contributing to the understanding of the palynological and archaeological landscape in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. The valuable lessons learned from this presentation, both in terms of refining my research and expanding my academic network, are poised to influence my academic journey positively and guide me towards further scholarly achievements.