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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Exploring Agriculture, Interaction and Trade on The Eastern African Littoral: Preliminary results from Kenya
Authors:Helm, R.
Crowther, A.
Shipton, C.
Tengeza, A.
Fuller, D.
Bolvin, N.
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:History - Archaeology
Subjects:Crop - cultivation
Economy - trade
Abstract:There is a growing interest in transoceanic connections between prehistoric communities occupying the Indian Ocean rim. Corroborative and well-sequenced archaeological data from eastern Africa have, however, been notably lacking. Recent excavations by the Sealinks Project in the coastal region of Kenya has sought to redress this imbalance by collecting base-line data on the local communities occupying this region between c. 1000 BC and AD 1000. Although our analyses are still preliminary, the quality of faunal and botanical material recovered demonstrates considerable potential for exploring local interactions and transitions between early hunter-forager and food-producing communities. A key finding in this regard was the identification of a suite of African crops (Sorghum, Pennisetum and Eleusine) at first millennium AD farming and hunter-forager sites, providing the first significant evidence for early agriculture on the Kenyan coast and the role of crops in forager-farmer trade. Other material data, notably the transfer of marine shell and glass beads inland, and the use of ceramics, indicate a tentative correspondence between the increased intensity of such local interactions in the latter half of the first millennium AD and the emergence of wider Indian Ocean connections. (Journal Abstract).