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  Coastal landscape changes at Unguja Ukuu, Zanzibar: contextualizing the archaeology of an early Islamic port of trade

Kotarba-Morley, A. M., Kourampas, N., Morley, M. W., MacAdams, C., Crowther, A., Faulkner, P., et al. (2022). Coastal landscape changes at Unguja Ukuu, Zanzibar: contextualizing the archaeology of an early Islamic port of trade. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 2030441, pp. 1-35. doi:10.1080/15564894.2022.2030441.

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free access (Publisher version)
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(last seen: March 2022)

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 Creators:
Kotarba-Morley, Anna M., Author
Kourampas, Nikos, Author
Morley, Mike W., Author
MacAdams, Conor, Author
Crowther, Alison1, Author              
Faulkner, Patrick1, Author              
Horton, Mark1, Author              
Boivin, Nicole L.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: Maritime trade; Swahili coast; archaeology of small islands; coastal geoarchaeology; settlement micromorphology
 Abstract: Unguja Ukuu, located on the Zanzibar Archipelago, eastern Africa, was an active Indian Ocean trading settlement from the mid-first millennium until the early second millennium AD. As part of recent archaeological excavations aimed at understanding the site’s transregional trade networks, geoarchaeological analyses were undertaken to document the geomorphic context of the ancient settlement. Here, we outline the results of these field and laboratory studies to discuss patterns of anthropogenic sediment deposition. Unguja Ukuu’s deep coastal stratigraphy appears to record progradation of an inhabited back-reef shore from the mid-seventh to the nineth centuries AD, perhaps in the wake of an earlier middle to late Holocene marine transgression. Excavations on the back-beach show that deposits associated with the ancient settlement include interlayered middens, paleofloors, and backshore sands and, in later phases, a peri-urban dump with dark-earth-type anthrosols developed on these deposits. Coastal progradation appears to have been driven in part by the accumulation of anthropogenic detritus and compaction of ancient surfaces. We hypothesize how the inherited, submerged relic Late Pleistocene geomorphology of the intertidal zone and later Holocene sediment supply from the hinterland may have supported the emergence of Unguja Ukuu as a trading locale, and possibly contributed to its decline in the early second millennium AD.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022-02-27
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 35
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: Introduction
Social, geomorphic, and ecological setting
- Sedimentology
- Micromorphology
Results and interpretations
- Bedrock: Late Pleistocene limestone (context 1449)
- Facies I: Coarse pebbly sand (context 1445)
- Facies II: Brown sand and organic layers (contexts 1446, 1444, 1443, and 1441)
- Facies III: Yellow-brown sands with black, organic-rich shell bands (contexts 1442, 1440 to 1427, and 1424)
- Micromorphology: MM5 (context 1437/lens), MM6 (boundary of contexts 1428/1427), MM7 (context 1424)
- Facies IV: Black sandy sediment with shells, bone, and artifacts (contexts 1426, 1425, 1423, 1421, 1420, and 1418)
- Micromorphology: Top MM7 (context 1426) and bottom MM9 (context 1425)
- Facies V: Cemented reddish sandy clayey sediment and middens (contexts 1417, 1419, 1422, 1412, 1408, and 1406)
-- Micromorphology: Top of MM9 (context 1422/potential hearth?)
- Facies VI: Black sandy sediment (contexts 1404 and 1403)
- Facies VII: Farming soil and marginal urban dumps (contexts 1402 to 1400)
Summary
Discussion
- Environmental change and human activity on a Holocene back-reef shore
- Anthropogenic forcing of coastal change
- Settlement decline at the end of the first millennium AD
-- Toward a unified assessment of coastal settlements in East Africa
Conclusions
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1080/15564894.2022.2030441
Other: shh3159
 Degree: -

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Title: Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
  Other : Journal of island & coastal archaeology
  Other : The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
  Abbreviation : JICA
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London, Philadelphia : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: 2030441 Start / End Page: 1 - 35 Identifier: ISSN: 1556-4894
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1556-4894