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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Ship Engravings at Kilepwa, Mida Creek, Kenya
Authors:Pollard, E.J.D.
Bita, C.
Year:2017
Periodical:Azania: The Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa
Volume:52
Issue:2
Pages:173-191
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:Art
Subjects:Mida Creek
Ship - engravings
Ship - building
Abstract:With the archaeological survey of shipwrecks on the East African coast in its infancy, ship engravings are a source for maritime information for the medieval period. This paper reports on the discovery of engravings incised into the plaster of the internal wall of a fifteenth-century house on the island of Kilepwa at Mida Creek, Kenya. The engravings show Indian Ocean vessels resembling mitepe at rest and at sail, including mast, sail, prow and planking details. The function of the building is discussed and the evidence from the engravings considered in terms of boat technology, navigation and local belief. The engravings are considered to have been drawn by people involved with the oceanic economy at Kilepwa, a convenient port for large vessels close to the main channel. Finally, possible purposes of the drawings are discussed, including that of a votive or charm function. (Journal Abstract).
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