The 2020 EAA Virtual Meeting

This year has probably been the most challenging of our lives as a collective and, without any doubt, resilience and adaptation have been essential to keep on moving forward in a good spirit.

Between the 25th and the 31st of August the European Association of Archaeologist (EAA), organized their ever complete virtual meeting. The passage of the EAA annual meeting to a virtual event is the perfect example of the times we are living and how the organization followed the principles of resilience and adaptation! And we have to say it was a huge success! Congratulations to all!

On the 26th of August, the #314 session entitled Sensitizing and Engaging the Public: the Role of Online Learning in Archaeology and Heritage was presented and coordinated by Sofia Fonseca from ONLAAH, Ben Thomas from the Archaeological Institute of America and Aurélia Basterrechae, from ArchaeoConcept.

We create this session following up the 2018 session at EAA Barcelona, entitled Traditional and Alternative New Media: Different Ways to Communicate Upon Archaeology. We feel more than ever that the discussion around new ways to communicate and the role of online learning to educate on archaeology and heritage must go on and in fact, go even deeper.

The Onlaah presentation at the meeting

Bring our voice to a larger and new public using tools like storytelling, YouTube, podcasting, social media, online courses, should be on our radars. Because if we don’t bring our voice to the table, we will be missing the opportunity to educate and share knowledge and more than that, our place in the society will increasingly losing value or as Eleni Gizas said, quoting John M. Fritz and Fred T. Plog (1970):

“(…) We suspect that unless archaeologists find ways to make their research increasingly relevant to the modern world, the modern world will find itself increasingly capable of getting along without archaeologists .”

Indeed food for thought!

The EAA recorded the sessions and as soon as the recording is available we will share it with all of you.

The Onlaah Podcast

The ONLAAH podcast is here!

For some time we have been thinking of new ways of communicating archaeology. Already in 2018, at the EAA, in Barcelona, we organized a session entitled “Traditional and (Alternative) New Media: Different Ways to Communicate upon Archaeology”, where apart of the ONLAAH project many other colleagues presented new ways of communicating and relating with the public.

Back there the idea of creating a podcast was already one of our goals. Finally, that dream came true.

The first season of the podcast will be dedicated to our teachers on the MOOC on African Archaeology and Heritage. We want to introduce them to the public so the students can start connecting and learning about their work and research.

The following seasons, we will interview archaeologists and researchers but also heritage management experts and museum directors among others,

The July episodes feature Jörg Linstädter and Tilman Lenssen-Erz.

Jörg Linstädter is the Scientific Director of the Commission for Archaeology of Non-European Cultures at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and one of the Scientific Directors of the ONLAAH project. In this episode, we talk about his journey as an archaeologist, his interest in African Archaeology,  his engagement on the ONLAAH project and his research projects. Listen to the episode here

On the second episode, we interview Tilman Lenssen-Erz, an archaeologist specialised in African Archaeology and African Rock Art, from the African research Unit, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, of the University of Cologne, and a member of the Heinrich Barth Institute from the same University.

In this episode, we are talking about his journey into Archaeology and African Archaeology, the Daureb Rock Art project and the Daureb guides; the Indigenous Knowledge project with the San trackers of Namibia and so much more on African Heritage. Listen to the episode here.

Enjoy, subscribe and share the podcast on social media with the hashtag #onlahpodcast!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

It’s Official! Our MOOC is a Coursera MOOC!

We have great news to share! Our MOOC is officially a Coursera MOOC, and will be held at UAB-Coursera.

This is very exciting because Coursera is the world’s largest MOOC provider growing from 37 million students in 2018 to 45 million in 2019 and with 63 million students, in June 2020. Outstanding! The platform provides 4,300 courses, 430 specialisations and 20 degrees.

Coursera was founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, computer science professors from Stanford, back in 2012. That same year was considered by the New York Times ‘the year of the MOOC‘, due to the appearance of another two platforms: edX and Udacity.

Since then the growth of the MOOC’s movement has never stopped and I believe 2020 will see the increase of MOOC students by millions, due COVID-19 and the world quarantine.

Image from

For the last 8 years, MOOCs gave the opportunity to millions of students around the world to accede knowledge provided by top Universities, teachers and researchers. Independently of your income or geographic location, if you have a smartphone and an internet connection you are on!

It’s an honour to be part of this movement of democratization of knowledge with our MOOC on African Archaeology and Heritage!

Quarantine, online education and our first Zoom presentation!

The last months we have been in quarantine just like the rest of the world, wondering when and how this unsettling period in our lives will end. We wish you are all doing well and keeping safe, physic and psychologically, amidst this chaotic and transformational period.

We have all seen how our world went online with Zoom platform becoming one of the new ways of communication around the globe. Meetings, home education, congresses, seminars and webinars, became part of the “new normal”.

Although it’s been complicated to assimilate the changes we have been through what is undoubtful is the importance and the role of online learning and online communicating in our societies.

For this reason our project is more needed than ever. Bring awareness and make available the outstanding African heritage is a duty we feel deeply related.

Regarding our participation in the International congresses for 2020, which we inform you about on our latest post, we have some updates. Unfortunately, the SAFA Congress to be held in Oxford, was postponed.

The EAA Congress to be held in Budapest, was transformed into an online event. Our colleagues from the EAA have been working hard on this transformation and we are thankful for their effort. We will present our project at session 314 “Sensitizing and Engaging the Public: The Role of Online Learning in Archaeology and Heritage Education“, organized by Sofia Fonseca.

In the meanwhile, we leave you with a presentation of the project we gave on the 12th June to the ICArEHB, at the University of Algarve, one of our project partners. Thank you to João Cascalheira, one of the MOOC teachers, for the invitation and to all the colleagues that came and offer their collaboration and support for the future editions of our MOOC.

We hope you enjoy!

Our newsletter will be coming out this week! If you would like to receive it go to our web and subscribe to our mailing list:

You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram

Thank you for your interest in the project. Your support is fundamental to us.

Onlaah at SAFA 2020, in Oxford, with UNAM and UEM.

The Onlaah project will be at the SAFA 2020, Society of Africanist Archaeologists congress, that will be held in Oxford, from the 21st till the 24th of September. The title of the 25th meeting is African Archaeology- A 20:20 vision for the future.

Hopefully, by then, the COVID19 pandemic will be over and we will have the honor of presenting the project together with our partners Professor Goodman Gwasira, from the University of Namibia (UNAM) and Professor Décio Muianga, from Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), Mozambique.

Professors Gwasira and Muianga are part of our team of international teachers and researchers collaborating in our MOOC. 




Professor Goodman Gwasira at UNAM, in September 2019, filming his class regarding Rock Art methodology.
Professor Décio Muianga, in Mozambique, June 2019, filming the Changalane case study, on the contacts between hunter-gatherers and early farmers communities in today Southern Mozambique.

ONLAAH at the EAA 2020

Dear Colleagues,
Onlaah – Online Learning on African Archaeology and Heritage will be present at the 26th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Budapest, 26- 30 August 2020.


The call for papers is now open, join us!

Submission deadline: 13 February 2020
Link to submission:
SESSION THEME Sustainable archaeology and heritage in an
unsustainable world
SESSION FORMAT Regular session
SESSION TITLE Sensitizing and engaging the public:
The role of online learning in archaeology and heritage education

With millions of people joining online platforms all over the world, online learning has become an important educational tool. Online learning is accessible to a wide audience and is a way to engage in continuous learning regardless of age, geographic location, or prior experience. Furthermore, it democratizes education and knowledge. If one wants to learn something, there is likely an online course on it and that course may be presented by leading topic specialists who otherwise may not be accessible.
So, are archaeology and heritage education represented in the world of online learning? A quick internet survey finds archaeological and heritage themed MOOCs, classroom activities, lectures, and a variety of other resources that would indicate that indeed we are online. The presence of these resources, however, raises several issues and questions: Are MOOCs and lesson plans sufficient? Do the online resources accurately portray archaeology and heritage? Do they adequately raise awareness of heritage concerns?
Also of concern is the issue of who produces online content. Archaeologists generally are not trained in non-academic communication. Institutions like museums and research centers are investing in various online communication strategies—YouTube, virtual exhibitions, Instagram, Twitter, etc.—but engaging with the public has moved beyond the professional context. For several years, non-specialist “influencers” have been developing channels and strategies to promote historical subjects. How should archaeologists position themselves in relation to this phenomenon?
In this session we would like to discuss the role of online education in sensitizing people to archaeology and heritage and in promoting archaeological and heritage awareness. What is the responsibility and role of institutions and independent scientists in this new way of communicating science? What are the limits of such formats of communication? We invite archaeologists and heritage educators from around the world to provide examples, insights, and questions to enrich the discussion.

Online learning, Archaeology, Heritage, Sensitizing, Engaging, Public

Main organiser: Fonseca, Sofia, (Portugal)¹
Co-organisers: Basterrechea, Aurélia (Switzerland)²; Ben Thomas (Unites States of America)³

1. Teiduma, Consultancy on Heritage and Culture; DAI-German
Archaeological Institute
2. ArchaeoConcept
3. Archaeological Institute of America

Your contribution abstract must have between 200 and 300 words. By submitting the abstract, you become the main and corresponding author of your contribution, but you can add up to 9 co-authors. Upon submitting, you will still be able to review or change your abstract before the 13 February, 23:59 CET

In case you have any doubt, please contact:

10.12.2019 – TANA Meeting in Berlin

Part of our MOOC family was at the TANA meeting in Berlin: Tilman Lenssen-Erz, Sofia Fonseca, Alexa Hohn, Friederike Jesse, Michele Dinies, Johana Sigl and Jorg Linstadter.

We presented the progress made in our project since Aswan and the next steps to move us forward.

There were great presentations and discussions with our colleagues from the Entangled Africa programme.

And we had the pleasure and honour of having the DAI President Friederike Fless, with us.

Author: Sofia Fonseca

06.11.2019 – Behind the scenes!

Behind the scenes on our work at the Heinrich Barth Institute, in Cologne.
Filming the last details on the Namibian case studies, on the Brandberg, with Tilman Lenssen-Erz.

Afterwards we will be heading to Hamburg to meet our colleagues from Mozambique and finishing their case studies.

Moving forward!

Author: Sofia Fonseca

04.10.2019 – Final dinner in Namibia

Our MOOC’s team at Windhoek: Juliette and Heiko from M.oment TV & Film Production, Professor Tilman Lenssen-Erz, from University of Cologne and Sofia Fonseca, the project coordinator, from Teiduma Consultancy on Heritage and Culture.

This was the last dinner before returning home with the feeling of a good job done and having moving forward in our project!

Namibia is indeed an amazing Case Study!

Author: Sofia Fonseca


We are back to Windhoek and today we are filming at the University of Namibia with Professor Goodman Gwasira, on rock art methodology and community engagement on rock art site’s management.

Author: Sofia Fonseca

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