Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

East Africa: Historical Archaeology

  • Thomas John Biginagwa
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1361


For almost four decades, Africanist archaeologists have expressed dissatisfaction with the more dominant definitions of historical archaeology – as either the study of time periods and events for which written sources are available and of societies that have developed a literate tradition (e.g., Deetz 1977) or the era of European expansion and exploration from the fifteenth century onwards (e.g., Hall 1993) or even of the emergence of the modern world (e.g., Orser 1996). Their primary objection to these alternative definitions, most of which originally developed in North America, has been that from the perspective of the African continent, these offer only a partial indication of the potential scope of “historical archaeology,” given the existence of a rich legacy of diverse oral sources and the activities of a range of non-European yet external actors at different times both prior to and after CE 1500. Aside from the often Eurocentric bias of several of the more...

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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Dar es SalaamDar es SalaamTanzania