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The archaeological potential for the history of labor relations in East Africa, ca.1500–1900
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, African and Comparative Archaeology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9936-1310
2014 (English)In: History in Africa - A Journal of Method, ISSN 0361-5413, E-ISSN 1558-2744, Vol. 41, 227-306 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous studies of past labor relations in different parts of Africa have relied almost entirely on documentary sources. While such records can provide valuable insights into the range of different labor categories that have existed and the relative proportions of the population involved, for much of the continent they are severely restricted in a temporal sense. Thus, for many areas suitable documentary materials covering the periods prior to AD 1850 are scarce; as is the case, for example, for much of East Africa. To extend scholarly understanding of the nature of labor relations prior to this date, alternative sources need to be utilized. This paper presents a brief overview of the potential scope for utilizing archaeological data, with specific reference to mainland Tanzania. The paper also highlights the many limitations of archaeological data and offers some thoughts on how these might be addressed from both a conceptual and methodological perspective. The paper concludes with an appeal for more studies oriented toward investigation of the archaeological remains of the last five hundred years and greater dialogue between the region’s historian and archaeologists.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 41, 227-306 p.
Keyword [en]
East Africa, archaeology, Tanzania, labour relations, methodological issues
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270153OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-270153DiVA: diva2:886109
Available from: 2015-12-21 Created: 2015-12-21 Last updated: 2015-12-21

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