Archaeology at the micro-scale: micromorphology and phytoliths at a Swahili stonetown

Original Paper

Abstract

Geoarchaeological and archaeobotanical techniques are increasingly applied to the study of urban and domestic space. However, they are seldom performed as part of an integrative approach, where the soil and botanical micro-records are used together. This paper presents the preliminary results of ongoing research at Songo Mnara in Tanzania that combines customised intra-site soil macro- and micromorphological analyses, chemical analysis and the study of phytoliths. The research is part of a multidisciplinary project on the use of urban space in Swahili stonetowns. By eliciting multiple datasets from Songo Mnara, this paper illustrates the potential of integrating geoarchaeology and archaeobotany to investigate the use of space in urban contexts. The approach is a novelty within the context of Swahili archaeology and an emerging one in Africa.

Keywords

Geoarchaeology Phytoliths Domestic space Swahili archaeology 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and ArchaeologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyInstitució Milà i Fontanals – CSIC (Spanish National Research Council)BarcelonaSpain

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