Wolfgang Alders

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9725

Approve Date

October 23, 2018

Project Title

Alders, Wolfgang A., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Settlement History in the Plantation Landscapes of Central Zanzibar, AD 1500-1850,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Maher

WOLFGANG ALDERS, then a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in October 2018 to aid research on ‘Settlement History in the Plantation Landscapes of Central Zanzibar, AD 1500-1850,’ supervised by Dr. Lisa Maher. This project investigates the landscapes of inland Zanzibar over the course of the second millennium CE. The project aims to understand settlement patterns of small-scale Swahili communities up to and during the development of the capitalist clove plantation economy, which burgeoned in the 19th century and dramatically altered the socio-political landscape. The team carried out shovel test-pit surveys in 22 different areas across different ecological zones. Over 50 sites were identified from the 11th to the 20th century. Results point to an early to mid-2nd millennium phase of expansion into inland areas by communities living in small earth and thatch homesteads and linked into networks of Indian Ocean trade. These earlier areas are spatially overlapped by the expansion of sites in the 18th and 19th centuries, concurrent with the clove plantation economy. While large 19th-century towns and plantations are attested from the historical record, survey results from this project suggest that many smaller, ephemeral homesteads were involved in rural agricultural production. Survey data also provided dense record of local and imported ceramic forms from Unguja, Zanzibar, which are uniquely useful for creating a detailed typology of ceramic types on the island that will be beneficial for research to come.