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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A history of conservation of built heritage sites of the Swahili Coast in Tanzania
Author:Ichumbaki, Elgidius B.
Periodical:African Historical Review (ISSN 1753-2531)
Geographic terms:Tanzania
Indian Ocean islands
conservation of cultural heritage
Abstract:The interaction between the Swahili Coast of the present-day Tanzanian coast and other parts of the Indian Ocean world dates back to the first millennium AD. This commercial communication resulted in the rise of several coastal city-states (stonebuilt towns), some of which date back to the tenth century. Unfortunately, some of these states started to collapse during the second half of the second millennium and the majority of them is in a ruinous state. These material remains, which according to the Tanzania's Antiquities Act of 1964 deserve legal protection, have not been studied comprehensively mainly to establish their conservation history. The current article addresses this problem, and by analysing documents, it establishes the conservation history of monuments and historic buildings of the Swahili Coast in Tanzania. Research results indicate that some built heritage sites started decaying during the fourteenth century AD. Because of recognising the importance of these built heritage sites, communities of the region embarked on strategies to care these built heritage sites. This observation contradicts the European conventional wisdom maintaining that, in Africa, conservation of built heritage sites such as monuments and historic buildings began in the nineteenth century and was propagated by European colonialists. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]