Developments in Rural Life on the Eastern African Coast, A.D. 700–1500
Fleisher, Jeffrey B.
The eastern African coast is known for its Swahili “stonetowns.” Archaeological study of stonetowns has overshadowed that of Swahili rural life, and how it reformulated in the context of urban transformations after A.D. 1000. To help redress that imbalance, we focus here on village research carried out in a Swahili heartland—Pemba Island, Tanzania—in the context of two archaeological projects. We feature four settlements: later 1st millennium Kimimba village and its large, trading village neighbor, Tumbe; and 2nd millennium Kaliwa village, neighbor to Chwaka stonetown. Their archaeology, contextualized within a regional landscape, allows us to say new things about the changing nature of rural life on Pemba, and to make a case for the potential of village complexity elsewhere on the Swahili coast.
urbanization; ruralization; Swahili coast; countryside; stonetown