A Material Culture: Consumption and Materiality on the Coast by Stephanie Wynne-Jones

By Stephanie Wynne-Jones

A fabric Culture specializes in gadgets in Swahili society throughout the elaboration of an method that sees either humans and issues as stuck up in webs of mutual interplay. It hence presents either a brand new theoretical intervention in a few of the key issues in fabric tradition reviews, together with the organization of gadgets and the methods they have been associated with social identities, during the improvement of the thought of a biography of perform.

These theoretical discussions are explored during the archaeology of the Swahili, at the Indian Ocean coast of jap Africa. This coast was once domestic to a chain of "stonetowns" (containing coral structure) from the 9th century advert onwards, of which Kilwa Kisiwani is the main well-known, thought of the following in nearby context. those stonetowns have been deeply serious about maritime alternate, performed between a various, Islamic population.

This booklet means that the Swahili are a highly-significant case research for exploration of the connection among gadgets and other people some time past, because the society was once constituted and outlined via a specific fabric atmosphere. additional, it's endorsed that this courting was once subtly diverse than in different components, and especially from western versions that dominate winning research. The case is made for another kind of materiality, might be universal to the broader Indian Ocean global, with an emphasis on redistribution and movement instead of at the accumulation of wealth. The reader will for that reason achieve familiarity with a little-known and interesting tradition, in addition to appreciating the ways in which non-western examples can upload to our theoretical models.

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Extra resources for A Material Culture: Consumption and Materiality on the Coast of Precolonial East Africa

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The key contribution of this work is often located in its championing of an African origin for the townspeople; the local roots seen in the earliest phases of the town were demonstrably those of the later Swahili, not an earlier occupation supplanted by immigrants from the Islamic world. Yet Shanga has set the tone for Swahili archaeology in many other ways, providing the most detailed consideration of the archaeological sequence of buildings and artefacts so far available for the coast. 5; see also Horton 1996: 243–70).

Broad chronological outline Approx. time period Site type Artefact associations ad 600–950 Wattle-and-daub architecture ad 1000–1300 Coral and lime architecture for mosques and tombs. Some domestic structures of mud and coral ad 1300–1500 Large-scale construction in coral and lime, for domestic architecture also. Many new sites founded. ETT ceramics, iron slag, shell beads and bead grinders, glazed ceramics from Persian Gulf including Sirafi storage jars Regionalized Tana Tradition ceramics, terracotta spindle whorls, growth in imports including glass beads and sgraffiato glazed wares Regionalized Tana Tradition ceramics, glazed ceramics including black-on-yellow, Islamic monochrome, and Chinese celadon high densities of trade goods, but also of debris from the production of iron, shell beads, and products of ivory.

The imports of this period indicate a particular connection with the port of Siraf in the Persian Gulf, seen in both the high proportions of Sirafi jars among the imported ceramics, and in the exceptionally numerous glass vessels at early Manda, the closest parallels to which appear to be found in the Siraf excavations and from other sites in the Persian Gulf (Chittick 1984: 159–79). 6), i­ ncorporating a brick building, the House of the Cisterns, which also contained massive, lime-lined cisterns; coral-built seawalls; and the House of the Sunken Courtyard, which prefigured an architectural feature that was later diagnostic of the Swahili coast.

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