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Multi-Directional Connectivity in Eastern and Southern Africa during the First and Early Second Millennia AD: Archaeological Evidence from Lupilo, Southern Tanzania

In: Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • | 2 Jordan University College, Morogoro, Tanzania
  • | 3 Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Abstract

Archaeology of connectivity has attracted researchers since the beginning of the discipline when migration theories reigned in archaeological research. In East Africa, it started close to the mid-twentieth century with a strong emphasis on coastal archaeology, because that is where imported and datable materials such as glass beads and porcelain were plentiful. Apart from contributing to the chronology of the culture history of the west coast of the Indian Ocean, such materials also acted as strong proofs for the connectivity between East Africa and the northern coast of the Indian Ocean and the Far East. As archaeological research expanded into the interior, these materials came to be used as markers of connectivity between the coast and the hinterland, and through it with the eastern world. Gradually, false assumptions emerged: first, that connectivity is almost always coast-interior oriented, and second, that it is almost always evinced by imported materials. This paper attempts to refute these assumptions using an inland site from southern Tanzania, which has proven to have strong links with the coast and, more strongly, with other inland sites as far as in what is today Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. The evidence for this connectivity varies from symbolism and technology to trade objects.

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