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Dr. Nick Gestrich

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Phone: +49-(0)69-79833059

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Photo: Mirko Krenzel für die VolkswagenStiftung


Nikolas Gestrich studied archaeology at Durham University and University College London. In 2013, he received his PhD from University College London with a dissertation on settlement structures in Iron Age West Africa. Until 2015, he was Teaching Fellow in African Archaeology at the London Institute of Archaeology, participating in archaeological research in Mali, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Botswana. Since 2016, Gestrich has been at the Frobenius Institute with a Freigeist Fellowship from the Volkswagen Foundation, leading a junior research group on the history and archaeology of the Segou region of Mali during the period of the West African Great Empires. He is particularly interested in the formation of complex societies along the upper and middle Niger River, early urbanism, and the methodological development of historical archaeology in Africa.

Research interests
Thematic: history and archaeology of West Africa, historical archaeology, archaeology in a transdisciplinary engagement.
Regional: West Africa, especially Mali



Articles in journals

2021 (mit Louis Champion, Daouda Keita, Nafogo Coulibaly, Dorian Fuller) „Evidence of an eleventh-century AD Cola Nitida trade into the Middle Niger region“, African Archaeological Review 38: 403–418
2019 (Amy K. Styring, Amadou M. Diop, Amy Bogaard, Louis Champion, Dorian Q. Fuller, Nikolas Gestrich, Kevin C. Macdonald, Katharina Neumann) „Nitrogen isotope values of pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet) grains: towards a reconstruction of past cultivation conditions in the Sahel, West Africa.”, Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 28 (6):663–678

2018 (Nikolas Gestrich, K. C. Macdonald) „On the margins of Ghana and Kawkaw: Four seasons of excavation at Tongo Maaré Diabal (AD 500 – 1150), Mali”, Journal of African Archaeology 16(1):1-30

2013 “The Archaeology of Social Organisation at Tongo Maaré Diabal”, Archaeological Research in Africa 48 (4):547-551

2011 “Putting a Price on the Past: The Ethics and Economics of Archaeology in the Marketplace - a reply to What is Public Archaeology?", Present Pasts 3(2):80-82

2011 (K. C. Macdonald, S. Camera, S. Canós, Nikolas Gestrich, D. Keita) “Sorotomo: A forgotten Malian capital?”, Archaeology International 13:52-64

Articles in edited volumes

2018 „Ta Masa und die Magier. Politische Geschichte in Mali jenseits der Schriftquellen“, in: L. Regazzoni (Hrsg.), Schriftlose Vergangenheiten: Geschichtsschreibung an ihrer Grenze von der Frühen Neuzeit bis in unsere Gegenwart, 247-266. Berlin: De Gruyter

2016 (Kevin C. MacDonald, Nikolas Gestrich, Seydou Camara, Daouda Keita) „The ‚Pays Dô‘ and the origins of the empire of Mali“, in: B. Rossi und T. Green (Hrsg.), Landscapes, sources and intellectual projects: Politics, history and the West African past, 63-78. Leiden: Brill


2019 „The empire of Ghana”, in: Thomas Spear (Hrsg.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History (Online). DOI:10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.013.396

2017 Rezension von R. J. Macintosh, S. K. Macintosh und H. Boucoum (Hrsg.): „The search for Tak-rur. Archaeological excavations and reconnaissance along the Middle Senegal Valley“, in: African Archaeological Review 34(4):557-559

2017 Rezension von Anne M. Compton: „Excavations at Kranka Dada. An examination of daily life, trade, and ritual in the Bono Manso region“, in: Azania – Archaeological Research in Africa 52(4):544-546

2014 ”Book review: Sylvain Ozainne; Un Néolithique Ouest-Africain”, Journal of African Archaeology 12(1):103-104

2013 “Book review: Pierre Lemmonier; Mundane Objects: Materiality and non-verbal communication”, Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 23(1):Seite-Seite