Fifty years in the archaeology of the eastern African coast: a methodological history
2015 (English)In: Azania, ISSN 0067-270X, E-ISSN 1945-5534, Vol. 50, no 4, 519-541 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Research on the archaeology of the coast of eastern Africa is closely associated with the earliest days of the British Institute in Eastern Africa and in many ways quickly became synonymous with the Institute's journal - Azania. This is not surprising given that Neville Chittick, the first Director of the Institute and initial editor of Azania, was most actively engaged with research on the eastern African Swahili coast. Since those early years, many researchers have described the changing paradigms of coastal archaeology, often through the lens of wider political and theoretical changes and framed with reference to periods of colonialism, independence and post-colonialism. In this paper, we seek instead to document and describe the methodological and analytical changes that have occurred in the archaeology of eastern Africa over the decades that Azania has been published. We focus on three broad methodological areas and chart their emergence, use and transformation over time: urban archaeology, ceramics and typology and survey and reconnaissance. We then offer a discussion of the diversity of current methodologies and the introduction of scientific techniques and how they have served to shape the type of questions that can be asked and answered. Finally, we call for a continued commitment to local dissemination for coastal researchers: a job for which Azania retains its important role.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 50, no 4, 519-541 p.
Swahili Coast, archaeological survey, ceramic analysis, archaeological science, urban archaeology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280971DOI: 10.1080/0067270X.2015.1102943ISI: 000369956700006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-280971DiVA: diva2:912431