Ceramic Production And Use On The Colonial Swahili Coast
This study set out to assess the impact of foreigners on the socio-economic and cultural lifestyles of the inhabitants of the Swahili coast during the colonial period. It specifically focussed on evaluating foreign influence on the local ceramic industry. To achieve the above, the research explored existing archaeological literature (especially on foreign wares). An ethno-archaeological approach within the systems theory was used to analyse museum collections of archaeological ceramics and also the traditional ceramic industry. Findings were that at the advent of the colonial period, the local ceramic industry had started to decline and it was apparently unable to meet local market demands. The coming of colonialists with political and economic power helped to accelerate this decline through opening the way for the proliferation of foreign ceramics and even non-ceramic wares. These alternative wares subjected the local ceramic industry to stiff competition. Evidence showed that in response, local producers attempted, without much success, to copy foreign vessel forms and techniques of vessel production. Generally, it was observed that increased competition from the foreign ceramic and non-cerarnic vessels almost led to the total collapse of the local ceramic industry. The major conclusion arrived at was that the interaction between the local people of the coast, on the one hand, and foreigners and their products, on the other hand, helped not to boost but to destroy local craft industries of the time. It was also concluded that technological analysis and the application of ethnographic analogy is an invaluable approach in unravelling the SwahiIi coast's past.
CitationMaster of Arts in Archaeology
University of NairobiDepartment of History and Archaeology