African Archaeological Review

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 427–453 | Cite as

Intersections, Networks and the Genesis of Social Complexity on the Nyali Coast of East Africa

  • C. ShiptonEmail author
  • R. Helm
  • N. Boivin
  • A. Crowther
  • P. Austin
  • D. Q. Fuller
Original Article


This paper examines intersections between different societies occupying the Nyali Coast region of southern Kenya from the late first millennium ad to the mid-second millennium ad. We explore interaction between societies at three scales: between hunter-gatherers and farmers in the coastal hinterland, between the hinterland and the coast and between the coast and the wider Indian Ocean. The patterns indicate that local intersections in the hinterland between hunter-gatherers and farmers went hand-in-hand with both the emergence of larger settlements in the hinterland and on the coast, and participation in a pan-Indian Ocean trade network.


Iron Age Swahili Indian Ocean Trade Agriculture Foragers 


Ce document examine des intersections entre différentes sociétés occupant la région de côte de Nyali du Kenya méridional, à partir vers la fin de le premier millénium ap. J.-C. et le milieu du deuxième millénium ap. J.-C. Nous explorons l'interaction entre ces sociétés à trois échelles: entre les chasseur-ramasseurs et les fermiers dans l'intérieur; entre l'intérieur et la côte; et entre la côte et l'Océan Indien plus large. Les modèles indiquent que les intersections locales dans l'intérieur entre les chasseur-ramasseurs et les fermiers sont allées de pair avec l'apparition de plus grands établissment dans la région, et la participation à un réseau du commerce de l'Océan Indien.



We would like to thank Jonathan Walz for the invitation to submit this paper and for edits. Four anonymous reviewers provided useful recommendations for improvements. Funding was provided by the Sealinks Project under a European Research Council Grant (agreement no. 206148) awarded to NB. CS is funded by a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and AC by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship. Permission to conduct research was granted by the Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya through affiliation with the National Museums of Kenya. We are grateful for the support and assistance of these institutions as well as the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Particular thanks are extended to Lawrence Chiro, Anthony Githitho, Jambo Haro, Severinus Jembe, Herman Kiriama, Purity Kiura and Amini Tengeza of the National Museums of Kenya, and to Johnpius Mpangarusya, a graduate scholar of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, for help with this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Shipton
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Helm
    • 2
  • N. Boivin
    • 3
  • A. Crowther
    • 3
  • P. Austin
    • 3
    • 4
  • D. Q. Fuller
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Social ScienceUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Canterbury Archaeological TrustCanterburyUK
  3. 3.School of ArchaeologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  4. 4.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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