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Changing Landscapes: An Environmental History of Chibuene, Southern Mozambique
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, African and Comparative Archaeology.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyses the dynamics of environmental change and its embeddedness in the long term interactions of social history and rainfall variability through the building of an environmental history of the Chibuene locality, the coastal plain of southern Mozambique, 5 km south of the town Vilanculos, from 400 AD to present day. Land-use practices over time are discussed on the basis of vegetation and land-use history based pollen analysis, charcoal influx and diatom analysis. It is shown that the savanna vegetation is a long term feature of the Chibuene landscapes and that there have been several expansions of savannas and subsequent retractions of forests through time, linked primarily with rainfall variation. Written sources and archaeological material are drawn upon for a discussion on changing practices of environmental management and it is argued that as the Chibuene landscape is marked by a high degree of environmental insecurity, it is the competent management of resources that has enabled the continuous occupation of Chibuene from c. the 7th century AD, through management of natural resources, flexible farming practices and wide reaching social networks. The last two decades have seen a marked change in land-use patterns, reflected in a decrease in forests of the Chibuene area, the reasons for which are complex and needs to be further studied. Interviews with individual elders in the village community provide alternative ways of understanding environmental degradation as merely the loss of disappearance of forests, or the failure of crops due to droughts, but also as the erosion of local power, wars and social unrest. In a similar way, through a long-term perspective this study stresses that socio-political life, climatic variability and environmental dynamics are interlinked, highlighting the importance of the complimentarity of different forms of knowledge and ways of knowing the Chibuene landscape.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Afrikansk och jämförande arkeologi , 2004. , 195 p.
Studies in Global Archaeology, ISSN 1651-1255 ; 5
Keyword [en]
Archaeology, environmental history, archaeology, archaeobotany, paleoecology, vegetation history, pollen analysis, environmental management, environmental insecurity, resource utilisation, landscape, paleclimatology, trade, oral tradition, Mozambique, Vilanculos
Keyword [sv]
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4587ISBN: 91-973212-3-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-4587DiVA: diva2:165219
Public defence
2004-10-22, Geijersalen, Centre for the Humanities, English Park Campus, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2004-09-30 Created: 2004-09-30Bibliographically approved

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