Inter-Tidal Causeways and Platforms of the 13th- to 16th-Century City-State of Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania

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Abstract

Survey of the coastal and inter-tidal zone at Kilwa in Tanzania resulted in the discovery of a series of artificial causeways and platforms at the entrance to the harbour of Kilwa Kisiwani, an important port trading with East Africa and southern Asia from around the 13th century. These appear to be part of a phase of monumental stone building at Kilwa in the 13th to 16th centuries, and represent a prosperous, confident Kilwa, impressing foreigners arriving by sea. Although necessarily speculative, several possible interpretations of their functions are advanced including navigation, protective breakwaters, access to marine resources, or ceremonial use.

© 2007 The Author

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