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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Development and Expansion of the Field and Irrigation Systems at Engaruka, Tanzania
Author:Stump, Daryl
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills., maps
Geographic terms:Tanzania
East Africa
Iron Age
agricultural history
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
History and Exploration
Anthropology and Archaeology
History, Archaeology
Historic sites
Irrigation farming
Agriculture, Prehistoric
Engaruka Site (Tanzania)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00672700609480435
Abstract:Since the early 1960s the site of Engaruka in northeastern Tanzania has been recognized as the remains of a Late Iron Age, primarily arable, economy, comprising large areas of stone-bounded fields overlooked by a series of terraced settlements. This picture has subsequently been refined by a number of archaeological surveys which have demonstrated that most of the former cultivation area was served by a complex system of irrigation channels which make the site a comparatively rare and early example of an East African irrigated agronomy. Dated by radiocarbon determinations to the early 15th or late 14th century AD, and with abandonment probably dating to the mid to late 18th century, the occupation of the site spanned between 300 and 400 years. Despite the economic importance of the field area, all previous excavations at the site have focussed on the habitation terraces or on the stone enclosures and cairns located within the field system, rather than on the field and irrigation structures themselves. The fieldwork reported upon in the present paper (which was carried out in 2002 and 2003) represents an attempt to rectify this situation, arguing that the site does not yet deserve its reputation as an example of local environmental mismanagement, the alleged reason why Engaruka was abandoned in the late 18th century. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]