The Copper Coins of the Kilwa Region, Tanzania, AD 1000–1500: Creating a Regional Currency in an Indian Ocean World of Coins
The residents and rulers of Swahili towns along the eastern African Swahili coast fashioned cosmopolitan worlds through their participation in long-distance trade both across the Indian Ocean and into the continental interior, their conversion to Islam, and the construction of cities that incorporated styles from across the Indian Ocean world. The creation and use of a local coinage—silver from the 8th-10th centuries, and copper from the 11th century onward—is often viewed as a way that town leaders emulated features in the Islamic heartland thus linking towns to it. Although the copper coins of the Kilwa region clearly referenced and emulated coin systems in the Indian Ocean world, they were not, we argue, meant to connect Swahili towns to that broader world. This coinage, minted at Kilwa Kisiwani, was used only in a small region of the coast, and found at three towns (where they are plentiful in the archaeological record). We argue that the leaders of these towns created their local coinage as a medium of everyday exchange among the general populace, cognizant of the usage of coins more broadly within the Indian Ocean world, but as an effort to materialize power and authority locally.
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The Copper Coins of the Kilwa Region, Tanzania, AD 1000–1500: Creating a Regional Currency in an Indian Ocean World of Coins. Jeffrey Fleisher, Stephanie Wynne-Jones. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444285)
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min long: 24.082; min lat: -26.746 ; max long: 56.777; max lat: 17.309 ;
Abstract Id(s): 18778