Jeffrey Fleisher Lecture
Dr. Jeffrey Fleisher, Anthropology, Rice University, and Co-Director of the Songo Mnara Project will present a lecture titled:
"The Archaeology of the Ancient Swahili: Trade, Islam, & The Indian Ocean World"
The ancient Swahili of the eastern African coast--from southern Somalia to Mozambique--have been long recognized as an Islamic, mercantile society that negotiated the trade between the African continent and the Indian Ocean world. Recent archaeological research has begun to explore the African roots of ths complex society, showing the deep connections the Swahili built with long distance traders in the Indian Ocean, their early adoption of Islam, and the means through which coastal settlements grew into cosmopolitan cities boasting elaborate mosques, tombs and palaces. The archaeology of the ancient Swahili is a crucial part of establishing complex histories on a continent often thought lacking them.