Stone Towns of the Swahili Coast
March 5, 2014 12:43 PM   Subscribe

The Swahili Coast and its culture in the medieval period (roughly the tenth to fifteenth centuries) is relatively little studied, compared with other cultures of its size and influence, though it represents a key node in the development of global trade before the European Age of Discovery. Its history is known in broad strokes, but less is known about how the medieval Swahili lived and how they incorporated influences—from religion to architecture—from across the Indian Ocean world. Fleisher and his codirector, Stephanie Wynne-Jones of the University of York, looked for a site that would allow them to examine such questions in detail. “We had an inkling Songo Mnara would be that site,” he says, “but it has completely exceeded our expectations. --
posted by MartinWisse (9 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

This is fantastic! Thanks for posting, Martin.
posted by clockzero at 12:49 PM on March 5

posted by infini at 1:11 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

The East coast of Africa is one of those places that I found out has a rich and long history and felt "Hey, why didn't anybody tell me about this before?". Plus, Swahili is a pretty cool language. Thanks.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:33 PM on March 5

"Hey, why didn't anybody tell me about this before?"

That's my reaction right this very minute. I guess it's another (depressing) example of how eurocentric my education was, but at least I'm reading about this now...
posted by Dip Flash at 5:53 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

Fascinating. Thanks, MartinWisse.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:38 PM on March 5

Plus, Swahili is a pretty cool language.

Seven reasons to pay attention to the Swahili language
posted by infini at 11:30 PM on March 5

Very cool indeed. I wish someone would do a visual reimagining of what a town like that would have looked like at its peak.
posted by digitalprimate at 7:32 AM on March 6

Seven reasons to pay attention to the Swahili language

Well, I was referring to the noun classes and noun concord, but yeah, I guess practical applications are cool too.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:11 AM on March 6

I read about this on io9 recently. Neat.
posted by homunculus at 8:59 PM on March 6

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