Matthew Knisley

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9392

Approve Date

October 19, 2016

Project Title

Knisley, Matthew C., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'An Archaeology of the 'Natural': Historical Landscapes of the Sandawe Homeland, Central Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Francois G. Richard

MATTHEW C. KNISLEY, then a graduate student at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2016 to aid research on ‘An Archaeology of the ‘Natural:’ Historical Landscapes of the Sandawe Homeland, Central Tanzania,’ supervised by Dr. Fran’ois G. Richard. The objective of this research was to investigate the archaeological manifestations of foraging landscapes and forager and food producer relations in a region where specialized foraging is thought to have survived as late as the twentieth century. Archaeological models of food producing frontiers require datasets attuned to spatial and temporal variation in landscape occupation and exchange. Fieldwork entailed systematic surface and subsurface surveys of dominant ecological zones and open-air sites, judgmental survey of rockshelter sites, excavations at select open-air and rockshelter sites, and environmental proxy sampling. Significant material assemblages that were recovered include: imported and local ceramics; lithics produced from local and exotic material, such as obsidian; ochre; glass, avian shell, and marine shell beads; metal and slag; and botanical and faunal remains. The multi-scalar nature of these datasets allows for an investigation of how local inhabitants have differently organized themselves over time and in relation to the extra-regional political economic and ecological networks of eastern Africa. Analyses are focused on evidence concerning the last 3,500 years, which current evidence suggests marks the onset of food production in the region. This project provides a test case for the renewed interest in interdisciplinary studies of African prehistory, and specifically for how archeological data work to critique and extend models developed from archival, ethnographic, linguistic, oral historical, and genetic sources.