The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication co-published by the Block Museum and Princeton University Press. The book Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa draws on the latest archaeological discoveries and art historical research to construct a compelling look at medieval trans-Saharan exchange and its legacy. Contributors from diverse disciplines present case studies that form a rich portrayal of a distant time.
“The catalog makes the point, as does much recent writing on medieval Africa, that the Sahara has long been miscast as a barrier separating a notional black Africa from an equally notional white or Arab one. In reality, it argues, the desert has always been not just permeable but heavily trafficked, much like the ocean, with trade as well as religious and cultural influences traveling back and forth, and with world-shaping effects. Part of the difficulty in conveying the importance of this region’s history has been its paucity of documentation, and the exhibition and its catalog make up for this spectacularly with their display of the region’s legacy of artifacts, from pottery shards to sculpture and gold weights and coins.”
– Howard French, The New York Review of Books