Archaeological Investigation of Early Swahili Burial Practices at Pangani Bay on the Northern Tanzania Coast


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Archaeology and Heritage


The proposed study seeks to examine burial practices and thus infer beliefs and social structure of the early Swahili communities at Pangani Bay from 8th to 15th centuries AD. Archaeologists working on the East African coast have often reported the accidental encounter of human remains during excavation, however, specific information concerning social identity of the buried individuals has not been published yet. In the context of the proposed study an excavation at burial site at Kimu, situated on the southern bank of Pangani River shall be conducted in order to investigate the social structure of early Swahili communities. The study will focus on issues such as age, gender, social status and identity of the buried. It will employ approaches from mortuary archaeology during excavation and analysis of archaeological and osteological materials. The study will be to the benefit of historical understanding and identity of the local community at Pangani.