Anthracological Analyses of the Iron Age Shell Middens Complex at Praia da Rocha, Inhambane, Mozambique


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

In 2016, our teams carried out survey and excavation field work in the Inhambane Province, located in southern coastal Mozambique. At Praia da Rocha we have identified several previously unknown shell middens dated to the regional Iron Age (c. 700 BP). All sites are located within few hundred meters of each other and only one (Praia da Rocha 1) was, so far, excavated, revealing not only dense concentrations of shells, charcoals and potsherds, but also a human burial. This poster presents the taxonomic identification of charcoals coming from five of these shell middens and to compare them, with the goal of drawing a characterization of the acquisition of wood for fuel during the Iron Age in coastal Mozambique. Charcoals were recovered individually or by sieving at Praia da Rocha 1 and from bulk sediment samples collected from exposed profiles at each one of the other sites. They were analyzed using standard methods of light microscopy, considering features of the three main sections of charcoals: transverse, longitudinal tangential and longitudinal radial. Results revealed similar woody taxa across all shell middens, with a greater diversity of woody taxa associated with the human burial at Praia da Rocha 1.

Cite this Record

Anthracological Analyses of the Iron Age Shell Middens Complex at Praia da Rocha, Inhambane, Mozambique. Roxane Matias, Sandra Lennox, Ana Gomes, Nuno Bicho, Jonathan Haws. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450050)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 9.58; min lat: -35.461 ; max long: 57.041; max lat: 4.565 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23967