A visiting scholar from Uppsala University in Sweden, Henriette Rødland, will be presenting a seminar titled "Townscapes and household archaeology in north-western Zanzibar: a case study from Tumbatu and Mkokotoni". She will present her findings on production activities and lifeways in Zanzibar at the beginning of the second millennium AD.
The seminar will be held on Wednesday 11 September at 13:30 to 14:30 in the Humanities Building, Floor 8, Room 18 (University of Pretoria).
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The large group of people commonly known as the Swahili occupied an expansive stretch of coastline between Somalia and Mozambique from the 6th or 7th centuries CE, with early villages being built using wattle and daub while later settlements also included stone structures such as tombs, mosques, and private houses. Increased involvement in long-distance trade, urbanisation, and religious developments led to an increasingly hierarchical social structure in many Swahili societies, which included forced labour and servitude. In this research seminar, I will present some of the results from two archaeological field seasons in Tumbatu and Mkokotoni in north-western Zanzibar (Unguja) in Tanzania, and their relationship to my larger doctoral project at Uppsala University titled: “Social inequality and slavery in Zanzibar - Material expressions of slavery, labour, and non-elite identity in pre-colonial Swahili towns, 1100-1500 CE”. Sub-surface surveys and household excavations at both sites reveal two interconnected settlements occupying different landscapes and benefitting from their close proximity and varied production and subsistence strategies, while taking part in the larger Indian Ocean trade of the first half of the second millennium. Although some data is still awaiting analysis, I will present some preliminary interpretations regarding production activities and lifeways, and the relationship between the two sites.