Update from the field: Zanzibar

By PhD student Ema Bauzyte and Assistant Professor Federica Sulas.

2017.07.07 | Christina Levisen

Excavations are underway at Unguja Ukuu site located on the south-west Coast of Zanzibar Island. A joint team from UrbNet and the University of York has set out to explore local domestic space, and how urban societies along the Swahili coast negotiate changing landscapes and resource availability. Two trenches are currently being explored and excavated by context, revealing artifact-rich deposits. The finds include a large quantity of 7th-11th century AD local ceramics, turquoise glazed ware imported from Persian Gulf, large quantities of glass and shell and a number of beads. Extensive evidence of iron working on site was found in one trench. Among rarer finds incense and copper kohl stick was uncovered. Occupation deposits have been sampled for soil geochemical analysis, aiming to characterize anthropogenic sediments and to obtain a high resolution signature of activities taking place at the site. With 5 days of fieldwork to go the team is racing to finish excavating the trench and understand its complex deposits.

History and archaeology