11th-Century Settlement Uncovered in Zanzibar’s Stone Town

Zanzibar Old FortZANZIBAR, TANZANIA—The National reports that traces of an eleventh-century settlement have been found in the courtyard of the Old Fort at Stone Town, which was thought to have been first established as a hub for Indian Ocean trade networks on the East African coast by Portuguese explorers and the Sultanate of Oman. The homes, cooking pits, and pottery were left behind by local Swahili people, who transitioned to the construction of stone buildings in the fourteenth century. “We can now say that the town was built centuries before the Omanis arrived,” said Tim Power of UAE University. Recent excavations have also uncovered a wall of a Portuguese church that had been demolished and integrated into the fort, and a carved stone block from a mosque that once stood on the site. To read about medieval trading centers along the East African coast, go to “Stone Towns of the Swahili Coast.”

Source: archaeology.org

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