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Preliminary Results of Geoarchaeological Sampling and Survey to Investigate Landscape History in Northern Unguja, Zanzibar

Author(s): Wolfgang Alders ; Abdallah Khamis Ali

Year: 2017

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Summary

We present the preliminary results of a study investigating long-term agricultural history in northern Unguja, the southern island of Zanzibar. In the summer of 2016, we excavated four test pits in modern rice fields to collect bulk, starch, phytolith, C14, and micromorphology samples, as well as samples from upland areas along watersheds, with the aim of characterizing contemporary and ancient land use in the rice-growing western side of the island. We also carried out brief archaeological surveys along three different watersheds, in the western, northern, and eastern parts of the island. Preliminary results suggest diverse strategies for agricultural production that varied in relation to urban development at Tumbatu and Mkokotoni in the northwest, Zanzibar Stonetown in the southwest, and settlement on the northeastern side of the island. Productive diversity existed both between and within the two broad ecological zones in northern Unguja: the deep, clayey soils in the west where rice farming is possible, and the bare, rocky bedrock outcrops in the east where marginal banana, coconut and cassava farming exists through landscape modifications in the coral stone. We reflect on the implications of these differences for understanding long-term landscape histories in island East Africa.


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Preliminary Results of Geoarchaeological Sampling and Survey to Investigate Landscape History in Northern Unguja, Zanzibar. Wolfgang Alders, Abdallah Khamis Ali. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429834)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
AFRICA


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16618

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