African Diaspora Archaeology Network (ADAN)

  • Christopher C. FennellEmail author
Living reference work entry

Basic Information

The African Diaspora Archaeology Network (ADAN) consists of collaborating scholars, researchers, and interested parties with expertise in African diaspora studies, archaeology, material culture analysis, African histories, and studies of the many developments and changes over time in African diaspora communities. The term “diaspora” typically addresses the dispersion of people to new locations as a result of adverse and hostile circumstances in the areas from which they were abducted or departed. The ADAN (n.d.) describes its mission as connecting “an intellectual community that considers the historical processes of culture, economics, gender, power, and racialization operating within and upon African descendant” populations.

Major Impact

The ADAN includes a quarterly, open-access newsletter published through Internet distribution to thousands of readers worldwide. The network also presents extensive resources for community members and researchers through its Internet site (ADAN n.d.) and often convenes an annual forum at the conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA).

The ADAN and its quarterly newsletter are successors to the African-American Archaeology Network (AAAN) and newsletter. The AAAN was organized by Theresa Singleton in 1990, and its newsletter was edited and produced in succession by Singleton, Thomas Wheaton, and John McCarthy up through 2000. The ADAN was organized in 2005 by a group of collaborating scholars and adopted a new name to focus on the broader geographic scale of African diaspora communities worldwide.

The field of African diaspora archaeology has witnessed a remarkable expansion in the number of projects, scope of investigations, and variety of research questions pursued over the past several decades. This growth was illustrated in discussions at an ADAN forum entitled “Research Designs for Atlantic Africa and African Diaspora Archaeologies,” convened in 2007 at the annual meeting of the SHA. Those forum discussions focused on interpretative frameworks and theoretical constructs utilized in African diaspora archaeology projects. Debates also addressed comparative historical archaeology investigations of sites in Africa impacted by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The resulting assessments of the state of the field demonstrated that researchers are pursuing a breathtaking variety of research questions. Such analysts address relationships between people, material culture, and historical processes across spatial scales spanning local, regional, interregional, hemispheric, and global frameworks (Fennell 2011). Collaborators from the ADAN also launched the peer-reviewed Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage (Taylor and Francis Press) in 2012. News, current events, and conference announcements are now disseminated through social media Internet sites (ADAN, News and Events n.d).



  1. African Diaspora Archaeology Network. n.d.. Available at: and Accessed 10 May 2017.
  2. African Diaspora Archaeology Network, News and Events. Available at: Accessed 11 May 2017.
  3. Fennell, C.C. 2011. Early African America: Archaeological studies of significance and diversity. Journal of Archaeological Research 19: 1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage. Available at: Accessed 10 May 2017.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Patricia Fournier
    • 1
  1. 1.Posgrado en ArqueologíaEscuela Nacional de Antropología e HistoriaMéxicoMexico