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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 121–135 | Cite as

Symbols of Cultural Identity: A Case Study from Tanzania

  • Tore Saetersdal
Article

Abstract

Cultural expressions and their contexts of use among two groups of Maconde form a basis for a discussion of cultural reproduction and the fluidity of ethnic boundaries. The material presented here is based on ethnoarchaeological fieldwork in Tanzania and Mozambique. Two groups, one based in Tanzania and the other in Mozambique, both identify themselves as one group, although they use and display material culture quite differently. The arguments in the paper are concerned with understanding the highly dynamic character of ethnicity in these East African societies and an attempt to look at shifting ethnic boundaries among the groups in the Rovuma Basin, in particular, over the last centuries. Here symbols of cultural identity have been manipulated and reintroduced into new contexts, as cultures change and groups adjust to their social environment.

cultural identity symbols Tanzania Makonde Mtwara 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tore Saetersdal
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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