African Islands : A Comparative Archaeology book cover
1st Edition

African Islands
A Comparative Archaeology

ISBN 9781032156910
Published April 12, 2022 by Routledge
338 Pages 195 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

African Islands provides the first geographically and chronologically comprehensive overview of the archaeology of African islands.

This book draws archaeologically informed histories of African islands into a single synthesis, focused on multiple issues of common interest, among them human impacts on previously uninhabited ecologies, the role of islands in the growth of long-distance maritime trade networks, and the functioning of plantation economies based on the exploitation of unfree labour. Addressing and repairing the longstanding neglect of Africa in general studies of island colonization, settlement, and connectivity, it makes a distinctively African contribution to studies of island archaeology. The availability of this much-needed synthesis also opens up a better understanding of the significance of African islands in the continent's past as a whole. After contextualizing chapters on island archaeology as a field and an introduction to the variety of Africa’s islands and the archaeological research undertaken on them, the book focuses on four themes: arriving, altering, being, and colonizing and resisting. An interdisciplinary approach is taken to these themes, drawing on a broad range of evidence that goes beyond material remains to include genetics, comparative studies of the languages, textual evidence and oral histories, island ecologies, and more.

African Islands provides an up-to-date synthesis and account of all aspects of archaeological research on Africa’s islands for students and academics alike.

Table of Contents

1. Why Africa, Why Islands?

2. The Multitude of Isles

3. Arriving

4. Altering

5. Being

6. Colonizing and Resisting

7. Island Archaeology: The African Contribution

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Peter Mitchell is Professor of African Archaeology at Oxford University, Tutor and Fellow in Archaeology at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and Research Associate of the Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand. Former President of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists, he has written widely on African archaeology and related topics