Safeguarding Heritage for Sustainable Development in Coastal Tanzanian Sites

PI: Dr Richard Bates
Tanzania contains some of the world’s greatest archaeological sites, including the Laetoli footprints (Lucy footprints) and World Heritage sites, such as the Kilwa Kisiwani, a 9th C powerful settlement on the Swahili Coast (placed on the ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’ in 2004). Both tangible (monuments, buildings, etc.) and intangible (such as, traditions and crafts) heritage are valuable to communities as they are intrinsically linked to society and the preservation of its culture. Despite this, Tanzania does not hold (a) any form of digital site or monument record, which compromises the protection and long-term management of the sites; or (b) recordings of the intangible heritage associated with the sites and surrounding communities. The interdisciplinary ‘Safeguarding Heritage in Tanzania’ team, which includes the Schools of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, History and colleagues at the University of Dar es Salaam, are studying Kilwa Kisiwani as a blueprint for heritage management and community engagement in Tanzania. The team are researching fragile heritage above and below water, conducting training at national (academic) and local (tourism sector) levels for long-term preservation and management of both tangible and intangible heritage, and building in-country capacity to address the potential losses at Kilwa, while economically benefiting local communities with increased income.  [read more]