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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Exploring the Use of Geophysical Survey on the Swahili coast: Vumba Kuu, Kenya
Author:Wynne-Jones, S.
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:History - Archaeology
Abstract:The application of geophysical survey in sub-Saharan Africa has been limited compared to other parts of the world. Geophysical techniques offer the possibility of conducting broad-scale survey relatively quickly, and of providing information on the layout of structures within a previously defined site. In a context in which ephemeral architecture is in the majority, the latter approach is an invaluable complement to surface survey and guide to excavation. At the site of Vumba Kuu, Kenya, magnetometry has proven successful at recovering information on the overall layout of the town and at providing hints as to the nature of archaeological remains within the areas identified. Vumba is a fourteenth- to fifteenth-century Swahili town made up almost exclusively of impermanent architecture, contained within an enclosing wall. This paper presents the results of geophysical survey at the site, conducted under the aegis of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. The methodology and main conclusions are presented as an experiment in the use of geophysics in an urban site on the coast of East Africa. The ways that the techniques used might enable a better understanding of activities and interactions within Swahili towns are also discussed. (Journal Abstract).