Early Maritime Cultures in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean: Papers from a conference held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (African Studies Program) 23-24 October 2015, with additional contributions [Paperback]

Akshay Sarathi(Editor)

ISBN: 9781784917128 | Published by: Archaeopress Access Archaeology | Year of Publication: 2018 | 240p, H10.75 x W8, Illustrated throughout in color and black & white (60 plates in color)
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Early Maritime Cultures in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean


The East African coast and the Western Indian Ocean are regions of global historical significance. This volume contains papers first presented at the conference, Early Maritime Cultures of the East African Coast, held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on October 23-24, 2015. Rather than limiting publication to the proceedings of the conference, additional contributions were solicited to expand the scope of the research presented and to place East Africa in its broader geographic and cultural contexts. The resulting volume focuses broadly on East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean and unites the papers under the general themes of movement and connection. These papers represent a multi-disciplinary effort to examine East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. Multiple lines of evidence drawn from linguistics, archaeology, history, art history, and ethnography come together in novel ways to highlight different aspects of the region’s past and offer innovative avenues for future research. The papers cover a diverse array of topics, including but not limited to: subsistence, watercraft traditions, trade and exchange (especially concerning the Silk Routes), migration, food ways, and familial relationships. This volume is unique in that it includes some speculative research as well, intended to present novel methods to deal with data-poor topics and to start important conversations about understudied topics. The goal of this volume is to showcase aspects of the complex cultures and histories of this vast region and to emphasize its importance to world history. Ideally, it will generate scholarly and popular interest in the histories and cultures of the region and bring to the fore Africa’s and the Western Indian Ocean’s important (yet often overlooked) role in world historical narratives. It may also serve as a more advanced introduction to East Africa’s and the Western Indian Ocean’s history of interaction with other regions of the Old World and as a survey of methods used to understand the region’s past.

Table of Contents

Prehistoric Settlements on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea – by Amanuel Beyin and Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Stratifying the Peopling of Madagascar – by Roger Blench

From the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean and Beyond – by Sing C. Chew

A Tradition of Large Logboats on the Save River, South-Eastern Zimbabwe? – by Rosanne Hawarden

Ancient Connections between China and East Africa – by Chapurukha Kusimba

On the Early Maritime Silk Road between China and India – by Wensuo Liu and Yanrong Wang

Australia’s Kilwa Coins Conundrum – by Ian S. McIntosh

Asian Military and Mercantile Movements in East Africa during the Nineteenth Century, a Few Notes – by Beatrice Nicolini

Zilo and Zahula – by Harriet Joseph Ottenheimer

Traditional Indian Ocean Maritime Trade and Social Organization – by Martin Ottenheimer

Shellfish Exploitation at Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar (c. 11kya – 20th cen. CE): A Preliminary Study – by Akshay Sarathi

Artistic Dynamics across the Seas – by Vera-Simone Schulz

Long-Distance Arab Sailing in the Indian Ocean before the Portuguese – by Marina Tolmacheva

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