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Household to community, community to region: A multiscalar approach to identity and interaction at two fugitive slave villages in 19th-century Kenya

Author(s): Lydia Wilson Marshall

Year: 2015

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Summary

In 19th-century coastal Kenya, runaway slaves were known as watoro. This paper uses an expanding analytical framework to investigate watoro identity and interaction at three scales. First, I use artifact concentrations and domestic spatial dynamics to illustrate the daily lifeways and material preferences of individual households in two watoro villages, Koromio and Makoroboi. I then compare multiple households within each watoro community in order to investigate how these households interacted and how their consumption and production practices differed. At the broadest scale, I seek to place Koromio and Makoroboi within their respective regions. I consider how these fugitive slave villages engaged with the regional sociopolitical and economic landscape as well as how their economic and social practices compared to neighboring groups. My analysis questions the often-assumed link between cultural homogeneity and group identity. This paper also highlights the potential for spatial approaches, particularly those enabled by GIS, to bridge multiple levels of analysis—situating households in their communities, and communities in their regions.

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Household to community, community to region: A multiscalar approach to identity and interaction at two fugitive slave villages in 19th-century Kenya. Lydia Wilson Marshall. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395355)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
AFRICA


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America