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Section 2. Global History and Geography

Interpreting Medieval to Post-Medieval Seafaring in South East Tanzania Using 18th- to 20th-Century Charts and Sailing Directions

Edward Pollard
p. 99-125

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Introduction

1This paper examines the historic sea charts and sailing directions to interpret maritime travel and so aid archaeological survey and excavation in ports around Kilwa in South East Tanzania (Figure 1). Surviving reliable charts for this region largely post-date 1750, but the relative stability of coastal morphology, weather systems, and sailing technology prior to the age of steam in the latter part of the 19th century, ensure that they provide an insight into the harbours and routes followed by sailors in earlier times, including the heyday of the East African stone towns in the first part of the second millennium.

Figure 1. The East African coast showing monsoon winds of the Western Indian Ocean (E. Pollard)

Figure 1. The East African coast showing monsoon winds of the Western Indian Ocean (E. Pollard)
  • 1 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The French at Kilwa Island (Clarendon Press, 1965), p. 9–11.
  • 2 John Blake, The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts (Conwa (...)

2In the late 18th century, French sea charts appear at places of their particular national interest, including Zanzibar and Kilwa. These are the first clearly recognisable large scale maps of areas along the coast. Previous European maps often included imaginative elements, or a high degree of generalisation, so it is difficult to determine their accuracy: such are represented by Civitates orbis terrarium first published in Cologne in 1572; André Thevet’s l’Isle de Quiloa (1586); the similar Jacques-Nicolas Bellin’s Plan de l’isle et ville de Quiloa; and John Green and Thomas Astley’s “The Island and City of Quiloa” in “A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels” (1746) (Figure 2). Otherwise, their scale was too small to be of value: such would include William Hacke’s A Description of the Sea Coasts… (c. 1690) (Figure 3). The French charts appear to have been made by slave traders who needed slaves for plantations on the Ile de France (Mauritius) and Bourbon (Reunion), and to assure food supply in time of war by the import of millet from Africa.1 UK Admiralty Charts for East African coast begin in early 19th century with a standardisation including tides, depths in feet, compass rose with true directions and magnetic variation, five-fathom line and ebb and flow directional arrows.2

Figure 2. André Thevet’s l’Isle de Quiloa (1586) (left) refers to Good Sand (Bonne Sande) in an anchorage off the Town of Kilwa (Ville de Quiloa)

Figure 2. André Thevet’s l’Isle de Quiloa (1586) (left) refers to Good Sand (Bonne Sande) in an anchorage off the Town of Kilwa (Ville de Quiloa)

The Temple on the mainland may be Songo Mnara. Some features could be identifiable from archaeological survey, but the presence of hills and European-style housing on the island shows this map has imaginative elements. Furthermore, the place-name Ville de Mangalo, which was a settlement located c. 90 km south of Kilwa, shows the scale to be inaccurate as the island of Kilwa is only c. 7 km long. Jacques-Nicolas Bellin’s Plan de l’isle et ville de Quiloa (1746) (right) shows the proximity of the island to the mainland, but no attempt is made to show a harbour and the main settlement is depicted as covering most on the island whereas in reality it was concentrated in the north-west (Source: gallica.bnf.fr).

Figure 3. Section of William Hacke’s late 17th-century chart (A Description of the Sea Coasts…) showing Cape Delgado (C. Del Gada) at the mouth of the Ruvuma River to Mafia Island (Monfia)

Figure 3. Section of William Hacke’s late 17th-century chart (A Description of the Sea Coasts…) showing Cape Delgado (C. Del Gada) at the mouth of the Ruvuma River to Mafia Island (Monfia)

The chart shows some water depths, an anchorage at Mafia Island and the presence of stone buildings around Kilwa (Quiloa). The anchorage is presumably Chole Bay but is marked on the east side of Mafia instead of the south. The stone buildings at Kilwa are drawn where space is available rather than accurately depicting location (Source: British Library).

3The charts are considered important from an archaeological perspective in developing a better understanding of sailing procedures, navigation aids and hazards, and designation of safe anchorages. Those strictly maritime concerns may then be associated with on-shore development, as well as suggesting potential sites for off-shore archaeological research in the vicinity of anchorages, or the near-shore approaches to those harbours.

4In this study some integration is attempted between the published materials and maritime archaeological survey work conducted by the author on this stretch of the Tanzanian coast. The sequence of charts and maps for the present Tanzanian coast were obtained from the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) in Taunton, British Library, National Archives in Kew, online Gallica Archive and British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) archive in Nairobi. In addition to Admiralty Charts, UKHO produced pilots for the East African coast that described the coastline and its dangers, anchorages and sailing directions.

The Historical Context

  • 3 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast: Select Documents from the First to the Earlier N (...)

5The charts and sailing directions must be seen in the context of the political economy of this southern section of the Swahili coast. Historically, the most important port in presentday south-east Tanzania was Kilwa, but it was only one of a number of formerly thriving ports, that developed extensive maritime trading links north to the Arabian Peninsula and east to India and China and sustained stone towns from the early 2nd millennium AD (Figure 1). The general wind patterns allow the NE monsoon to carry sailing vessels south during the months of November to March, whereas the SE monsoon takes vessels back northwards from May to October. Trade consisted essentially of exchange of raw materials (metals including gold, mangrove and other timbers, ivory) and slaves from the interior of Africa, for finished goods (particularly ceramics, textiles, glass and beads). While the earliest historical references to sea travel are found in classical writings (Periplus Maris Erythrai and Geographia), Muslim travellers and scholars throw light on the mediaeval period. Freeman-Grenville3 compiled a collection of many writings, including Abu al-Fida (1273–1331), who produced an historical and geographical work that included mention of Malindi and Mombasa; the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta who visited Kilwa in early 14th century. European commentaries on Kilwa followed during the 16th to 19th centuries, the earliest from captains, travellers and historians associated with the Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean, for instance Vasco da Gama (1502); the German Hans Mayr, who travelled with Dom Francisco D’Almeida (1505); Duarte Barbosa, a factor at Cananor (c. 1517–18); and the historian João de Barros (1552).

  • 4 J.Spencer Trimingham, The Arab Geographers, in East Africa and the Orient, ed. by H.N. Chittick & (...)
  • 5 Neville Chittick, Kilwa: An Islamic Trading City on the East African Coast (British Institute in E (...)
  • 6 Mark Horton & J. Middleton, The Swahili: The Social Landscape of a Mercantile Society (Blackwell P (...)
  • 7 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 91–2. Mark Horton & J. Middleton, The Swahili(...)

6The importance of the trade in the south, and thus of Kilwa, apparently grew significantly from the late 12th century. Ibn al-Mujawir, writing in 1232/33, referred to Kilwa as an important stage on the route to al-Qumr (Madagascar).4 Archaeological support is provided by Chittick’s excavations5 that identified an increase in wealth in Kilwa in late 12th to 13th century with the appearance of stone buildings, copper working and spindle whorls. He considered that Kilwa may have been an intermediate port en route between Aden and Sofala in modern Mozambique. Control of Sofala was important as the port through which gold from the Zimbabwe plateau was channelled into the world trading system.6 According to the Kilwa Chronicle, Kilwa took over the gold trade at Sofala from Mogadishu in the 12th century,7 but it was not until the late 13th to 14th century that it secured a virtual monopoly.

  • 8 Chittick, Kilwa, p. 239–40. Stephanie Wynne-Jones, Urbanization at Kilwa, Tanzania AD 800–1400 (Un (...)
  • 9 Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 105, 107.

7Increased commerce and wealth was reflected in extension of the Great Mosque, and the palace and emporium of Husuni Kubwa and a profusion of small-scale hinterland settlements probably acting as agricultural and marine resource suppliers for the town.8 Francisco D’Almeida’s fleet entered the harbour of Kilwa in July 1505 and described many boats as large as a 50-ton caravel and other smaller ones.9

  • 10 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The Medieval History of the Coast of Tanganyika (Oxford University Press (...)
  • 11 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The French at Kilwa Island, p. 49–50; G.S.P.Freeman-Grenville, The East (...)
  • 12 Basil Davidson, The African Slave Trade (Little Brown, 1988).
  • 13 Freeman-Grenville, The French at Kilwa Island, p. 133.

8Kilwa became powerful enough to dominate and subjugate neighbouring settlements including Mafia, perhaps by the 12th century10 (Figure 4). Six centuries later, the 18th-century French surgeon and slave trader, Morice, claimed that Kilwa’s northern boundary was from an archipelago of small islands to the north and south of the mouth of Dar es Salaam Harbour to Tungi Bay to the south of Cape d’Algado in northern modern Mozambique, though by Morice’s time the Mafia archipelago formed an independent republic.11 Morice who was also a surgeon bought a piece of Kilwa in exchange for four thousand piasters and negotiated a treaty with the sultan that gave him a monopoly privilege on the export of slaves signed in 1776.12 Morice reported that the sultan controlled Mozambique, Angoche and Sofala prior to the Portuguese taking of Kilwa island in 1505.13

  • 14 Blake, The Sea Chart, p. 62.

9After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 Britain started to suppress it in Africa and to develop trade there, which meant more accurate charts were essential. In 1821, Captain William Fitzwilliam Owen (1774–1857) was chosen to survey the east coast from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Guardafui at the northeastern tip of Somalia.14 The African Pilots produced during the 19th century to accompany the charts were compiled by Royal Navy officer Algernon Frederick Rous de Horsey (1827–1922). Between 1874 and 1875 the HMS Nassau under Lieutenant Commander Francis John Gray conducted surveys to the south of Kilwa but Gray died having succumbed to a fever off Port Natal on 12 December. Another east coast of Africa survey was done by William James Lloyd Wharton (1843–1905) who captained HMS Fawn from 1876 to 1880.

Navigating the Coast

10The ships that sustained such a geographically extensive trade were obliged to navigate a potentially dangerous reef-lined coast over considerable distances. The modest speed of sail and the vicissitudes of the winds placed requirements for re-provisioning of foodstuffs, and particularly water, en route, while boats might also need to make intermediate landfall to effect repairs for any damage incurred on passage.

11Thus calls might be expected at convenient harbours and ports away from the main trading city of Kilwa as ships sailed south towards Mozambique, Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, or north towards Mombasa, Malindi and the Middle East. These calls would be largely incidental, although minor trading might also have taken place during such a visit, while smaller vessels would be expected to have conducted purely local trading.

Figure 4. Sites mentioned around Kilwa (E. Pollard)

Figure 4. Sites mentioned around Kilwa (E. Pollard)

12This paper looks at different scale ports from Kiswere through the principal centre of Kilwa to Mafia (Figure 4) detailing the historical descriptions of supplies available, sailing instructions for passage and anchorage safety, and chart availability. The ports have all been visited by the author so that archaeological field material can be integrated with the published data. As the UK Hydrological Office sailing directions are organised from south to north, this account follows that format in navigating from Kiswere Harbour to Mafia Island.

  • 15 A.F.R. De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III: South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good (...)

13Kiswere Harbour is an inlet incorporating several settlements including Kiswere Village in the south-western corner of the harbour. Here “the harbour is a small fresh water stream, up which a boat can go at half tide to the village of Kiswere, where a few supplies, such as goats, fowls, eggs, &c., may be obtained, but there are no cattle or sheep15 (Figure 5).

14A 2012 survey by the author at Kiswere recorded the supplies available including four square stone wells probably dating from 13th to 15th century given their similarity to dated wells at Kilwa. The wells, although used by the villagers, were reported to be salty today though fresher water can be obtained from a spring inland. Pottery was recorded in the river and test pits in the village revealed artefacts dating from the 7th to 20th century, including a Chinese stoneware jar suggesting the site participated in the medieval Indian Ocean trade, albeit possibly indirectly.

15Other artefacts included fish bone, slag and shellfish indicating further maritime activity that indicates a coastal settlement at this location either in late medieval or early post medieval period. Fishing is also evidenced from the stakes limiting fish trap fences on the wide sandy foreshore of the Admiralty Chart.

  • 16 Ibid., p. 269.
  • 17 A.F.R. De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good (...)
  • 18 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 270.

16De Horsey16 defined the outer limits of Kiswere Harbour to lie “between Ras Berikiti (Harbour Rocks) on the north, and Ras Bobare on the south.” In Kiswere Harbour either the north or south shore can be chosen for anchorage according to which of the north-east or south-west monsoon prevails, but the south side (near Kiswere Village) tends to be the calmer in both monsoons while the ground there is mud compared with the sandy north shore near Mtumbu.17The anchorage off the village of Mtumbo [Mtumbu] is only fit for a very small vessel to approach at high water, as the bar across the entrance of the inlet has only 6 feet on it at low water springs.18 This would be enough at high tide (springs rise 12 ft) for local vessels as the draft of the largest traditional cargo carrying vessel known as mtepe is 1.7 to 3.0 m (5.5 to 10 ft).

  • 19 Ibid.

17Water supplies on this north shore were not described very favourably. “There are wells of water at the village of Mtumbo but it is brackish and unfit for use by Europeans.”19 The settlement of Mtumbu is later than Kiswere village dating to 19th- to early 20th-century.

18Its landing place is approached via a cut through the mangroves, and ruins of a house overlook the river mouth. Local knowledge informed that downstairs provided accommodation, but the upstairs was a mosque. Surrounding features included a well, a possible cistern, and graves. Blue and white pottery, glass, local pot, and coloured porcelain lay on the foreshore immediately seaward of the building, as well as an eroding quay, drain and another well (Figure 6). The place name Waarabu Weusi, which means “Black Arabs”, is a modern coconut plantation on the opposite side of the river north of where the ferry leaves: this was probably associated with the settlement opposite (Figure 7).

Figure 5. Fishing stakes marking out fish trap fences at the mouth of the Mto Kiswere where Kiswere Village lies (Gray, 1874)

Figure 5. Fishing stakes marking out fish trap fences at the mouth of the Mto Kiswere where Kiswere Village lies (Gray, 1874)

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Figure 6. Quayside at Mtumbu (E. Pollard) (left); Well at Mtumbu (E. Pollard) (right)

Figure 6. Quayside at Mtumbu (E. Pollard) (left); Well at Mtumbu (E. Pollard) (right)

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Figure 7. Mtumbu (Mtumbo) Village showing the ferry crossing from the opposite river bank (Gray, 1874)

Figure 7. Mtumbu (Mtumbo) Village showing the ferry crossing from the opposite river bank (Gray, 1874)

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

  • 20 Edward J.D. Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries: A Unique Navigati (...)
  • 21 A.F.R. De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 269.
  • 22 Ibid., p. 270.

19The geology of the coast from Kiswere to Kilwa consists of raised coral limestone with conglomerates and sandstones landward. There is a coral limestone fringing reef along this coast from Lindi to Kilwa (a distance of about 120 km) which provides a potential danger to shipping, but that danger is ameliorated by the distinctive maritime feature of a series of intertidal reef coral and sand causeways, islets and platforms that approach the reef and allow a sheltered environment for the growth of mangroves. These features both help to make conspicuous the off-shore landscape and mark the entrance to the harbour of Kilwa as well as harbours further south to Lindi.20 They are described in 19th century sailing directions as islets used for navigational purposes including Ras Fughio, the north point of Kiswere bay: “the reef here closes within a cable of the point, and then with several islands on it skirts the coast at a distance of 3 to 1½ cables south of Ras Berikiti.”21 “From Ras Fughio… the coast trends nearly in a straight line, with sandy beaches and small off-lying mangrove islets on the reef, to Ras Mombi, the southern point of Roango bay.”22

  • 23 ARDA Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities for the Year 1959 (The Government Printer, 196 (...)
  • 24 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 270–1.
  • 25 J.C. Morgan, “The Machinga Caves (with a note on those on Songo-Songo Island, and the Tawa-Pondo C (...)

20On leaving Kiswere bay, causeways are encountered 200 m to the north of Mitimiru, a 13th to 15th century stone house consisting of two rectangular rooms in an area of baobabs, from where they extend to Kissongo. Kissongo lies on the north-eastern approaches to Kiswere Harbour. It is in an area of good farmland and includes the Kisimakissongo Caves, which provide a source of water. The nearby Tung’ande I Cave is a site of late 12th- to 15th-century pottery. Further north at Majumbe, Roanga, a 15th-century mosque, stone house and three tombs have been recorded.23 De Horsey24 described “Roango bay (as) a shallow indentation of the coast … There is no anchorage for ships, but a narrow boat channel having 3 feet at low water, leads through the reef to a creek at the centre of the bay, which creek affords shelter to dhows. There is a small village on the sandy beach in the south-west corner of the bay, unapproachable by boats except at high water. A few fowls may be obtained.” Morgan25 recorded several more limestone caves/wells between Kiswere and Pande. It is possible that Roanga may have been another stop for supplies, but only for small vessels.

21Travelling north from Roango, vessels are on the approach to Kilwa. Kilwa itself consists of several islands in a bay, the largest being Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara. The deep harbours are Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour, which lies between Kilwa Kisiwani and the present day administrative centre of Kilwa Masoko; and Sangarungu Harbour, which is between Kilwa Kisiwani and landward of Songo Mnara (Figure 8). The first entrance to Sangarungu Harbour is at the southern end of Songo Mnara where there are passages for small boats through the mangroves though these are only accessible at high tide (Figure 9).

  • 26 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 271.

“From Ras Ngumbe Sukani to Mto Porwe, the coast consists of a mangrove swamp with several small creeks which, according to native information, join a larger one leading to port Kilwa… Mto Porwe, which separates the south end of Songo Manara island from the main, is only a boat channel available at high tide and smooth water, and communicates with Mkurulengamunyu [Pawi] creek the southern arm of Sangarungu harbour.”26

  • 27 Ibid., p. 272.
  • 28 De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to (...)

22If the Mto Porwe pass is too shallow, the vessel must enter Sangarungu Harbour to the north of Sangarungu Island, which is connected to Songo Mnara by a tidal mangrove swamp. Causeways are mentioned again approaching as the channel into harbour has “reef on both sides dry at low tides, and off Songa Manara island are some mangrove bushes close to the edge of the reef and distance three-quarters of a mile E. by N. of Ras Sangarungu, which can always be seen.27During the southerly monsoon this port and Keelwa should be made well from the southward. Coast along the land from the southward, keeping 1½ to 2 miles from the shore, and after rounding Kivoga island at about that distance to avoid the reef which extends nearly a mile to the south-eastward of it, bring Fishery point WNW and steer for it until Pagoda point (or the Direction Rocks, which are always visible) bears S.W. by W., then steer West, and when Morice island [Sanje ya Kati] bears S.W. by S. haul a point or so more to the southward and anchor as convenient in 9 to 11 fathoms, about midway between Pactolus shoal and the south shore of Keelwa island, with Pagoda point bearing E.S.E.28 The placename Direction Rocks are evidence that the causeways and platforms are used for navigation (Figure 10).

Figure 8. Kilwa Ria (E. Pollard)

Figure 8. Kilwa Ria (E. Pollard)

 

Figure 9. Mto Pawi and Porwe Pass at southern end of Songo Mnara (Wharton, 1903)

Figure 9. Mto Pawi and Porwe Pass at southern end of Songo Mnara (Wharton, 1903)

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Figure 10. (Left) Entrance to Sangarungu Harbour (Owen, 1827) showing Direction Rocks and referring to the fallen tower at Pagoda Point

Figure 10. (Left) Entrance to Sangarungu Harbour (Owen, 1827) showing Direction Rocks and referring to the fallen tower at Pagoda Point

(Right) Wharton’s (1877) Kilwa Kisiwani survey shows a passage through the mangroves to the landing place at Songo Mnara and a passage across the reef to Watiro island. (Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.)

  • 29 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 272.

23Sangarungu Harbour includes Port Pactolus, to the north of Sanje ya Kati, which “is surrounded by mangroves, encumbered by many reefs, with violent tidal streams, and the swell reaches far into the interior, so that a vessel having to go some distance in for a secure berth, renders it inconvenient.” “The part of the harbour between Songa Manara and Sanji-ya-Kati—Owen’s Port Nisus—is very deep and it is not until the latter island is brought north that any convenient anchorage will be found.”29

24The sailing directions here show that Port Nisus is the better part of Sangarungu Harbour and this prime location is reflected in the presence of stone towns of Songo Mnara, Sanga, Sanje ya Kati and Sanje ya Majoma surrounding this harbour. The same anchorage is also shown between Songo Mnara and Island Morice (Sanje ya Kati) on Morice’s chart (Figure 11).

  • 30 Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 196.
  • 31 Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries.”
  • 32 De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to (...)

25The stone town of Songo Mnara is named after the tower or “pagoda,” another navigational feature for boats reaching this port.30 Eighteenth-century French charts show the pagoda at the northern promontory of Songo Mnara. The French charts (Figure 11) kept at the Bodleian Institute in Oxford are presumably the original maps by Morice unless edited by another surveyor soon after his time there. The map on the online Gallica archive, which is in English, is probably an English copy of those maps (Figure 12). On the French maps, a Pagoda is shown at the north end of Songo Mnara. The Pagoda has become noticeably thinner on the second French map and, on the English map, the Pagoda is shown as a tower. The tower may be the more correct image as pillar tombs are found along the coast and the Mbaraki Pillar at Mombasa is used for navigation.31 By the 19th century, the Admiralty Charts reported: “Pagoda Point, the northern extremity of Songa Manara island… a tower formerly stood here, but it has fallen.”32

Figure 11. Morice’s charts of Kilwa: (Left) Plan de Quiloa corrigé sur les observations de M Morice; (Right) Plan particular de Quiloa et ses environs, situé à la côte d’Afrique (North is at the top.)

Figure 11. Morice’s charts of Kilwa: (Left) Plan de Quiloa corrigé sur les observations de M Morice; (Right) Plan particular de Quiloa et ses environs, situé à la côte d’Afrique (North is at the top.)

Source: BIEA archives.

  • 33 Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries.”
  • 34 Edward J.D. Pollard, J. Fleisher & S. Wynne-Jones, “Beyond the Stone Town: Maritime Architecture a (...)
  • 35 Edward J.D. Pollard, “Inter-tidal Causeways and Platforms of the Thirteenth to Sixteenth-Century C (...)
  • 36 Pollard, The Archaeology of the Tanzanian Coastal Landscapes.

26Intertidal survey revealed that the reef coral causeway had been modified to form a landing place at Chani at the northern entrance to Sangarungu Harbour.33 This is marked most clearly from the small islet north of Watiro Island leading to the low water mark (Figure 10). Furthermore, two passages are also shown through the mangroves on the southern side of the harbour entrance. One is on Sangarungu Island, where there is a fishing port today. The other is further south between the cliff and the mangroves and leads to the landing place of the stone town of Songo Mnara. Here there is a medieval mosque in the intertidal zone and a reef coral walkway, similar in construction to the causeways, from the mosque to another (funeral) mosque on the west coast of Songo Mnara.34 However, the site is abandoned today, and the landing place overgrown, so the chart shows how the port was approached in earlier times. On the northeast coast of Kilwa Kisiwani the causeways are very straight suggesting human modification. They reach up to 250 m in length, and 9.5 m in width, and terminate with platforms up to 65 m wide: they mark the entrance to Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour.35 In this area, Mvinje Island, a natural limestone islet, probably formerly used as a store for reef coral on the Kilwa Kisiwani east coast,36 is shown on the French versions of Morice’s charts only.

Figure 12. English version of Morice’s chart of Kilwa (Harrison, N.D.). West is at the top

Figure 12. English version of Morice’s chart of Kilwa (Harrison, N.D.). West is at the top

Source: gallica.bnf.fr.

  • 37 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 277.

27The French charts clearly show some islets near the white sand and a line of trees on the Rukyira promontory, which is the northern side of the eastern entrance to Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour. “Mwamba Rukyira is a large tongue of reef stretching off Ras Matuso in an easterly direction for 3½ miles. Its outer edge is very steep and sea always breaks on it; the northern end terminates in a point from which Ras Matuso bears SW distant for 4 miles. The reef is all dry at springs, and has many small mangrove bushes and sand heads on its eastern part, one of the latter, a mile south of the north extreme, is seldom covered.”37

  • 38 Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries.”

28A modern navigational tower and fishing station is sited on Lukila Island on the northern entrance to Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour. Pollard38 noted human modification of the island: navigation is improved by the high light reflectance from the reef coral, while some trees make it visible from a considerable distance.

  • 39 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 276.
  • 40 Ibid., p. 274.

29To enter Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour “steer along the south-eastern edge of Rukyira reef at a distance of a few cables, when… the old castle will be seen, dirty white and appearing like a white cliff in a mirage, closely backed by many trees of thick foliage which overtop it. When the castle is seen, steer for it until the bush on the edge of the reef south of Ras Matuso is clear of the latter, when the southern extremity of white sand in Mso Bay should be clearly seen with some yellow cliffs just to the left.”39 The channel may be said to commence south of Ras Matuso where the southern portion of Rukiyira reef—Ukyera of former charts—dries off for nearly 1½ miles, with a steep rocky edge. Close to this edge and south of Ras Matuso is a large bush of mangrove, which is conspicuous on approaching from the eastward.’40 This mangrove shows the causeways and platforms marking the way into the harbour, and the sailing directions refer to this side as the best way to enter the harbour.

  • 41 Ibid., p. 273.
  • 42 Ibid., p. 275.
  • 43 Ibid., p. 275.

30On Kilwa Kisiwani a “large baobab tree stands on an open park—like elevated space, 45 feet above sea, half a mile east of the castle, and marks the observation spot … The word Fawn is cut in the tree in letters large enough to be seen from the Balozi spit, and the tree is one of the marks for entering the harbour”41 (Figure 13). Within the harbour, Castle Islet is clearly seen on all three of Morice’s charts, but to the WNW of Kilwa Kisiwani instead of its location to the NW. In relation to where Morice has placed Castle Islet, the anchorage for Kilwa Kisiwani Port is correctly shown. “Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour is the lower portion of a large estuary… (and) is generally deep, but off the castle there is ample anchorage for many vessels in 9 to 15 fathoms, completely protected by the projecting points of reef from the heavy swell that almost invariably beats on the outer shore, and is open to the sea breeze.”42 “The channel separating Kilwa island from the main is at the northern end very shallow and at low tides fordable; here is a ferry communicating with the island. There is another ferry from the village to a break in the mangroves north of Ras Rongozi.”43 The tidal flats that almost link Kilwa Kisiwani to the mainland to the west are shown on one of the French and the English versions of Morice’s chart (Figures 11–12).

31Another French chart from 1775 is roughly contemporaneous with Morice’s map though the outline of Kilwa Kisiwani is more accurate (Figure 14). It does not show the tower of Songo Mnara, possibly indicating it has fallen by this date. The chart refers to Morice Island as the Isle aux Cabrito? (isle of roast goat kid), so it does not appear to have been based on any previous map. It pays close attention to the entrance to Kilwa Kisiwani and Sangarungu Harbour calling them Passe du Nord and Passe de Sud respectively.

32Pierre Brulier (burnt rock) is presumably a reference to lime-making: it lies above the same small islets marked on Morice’s maps. These may be causeways and platforms where lime is collected for burning along with the islets on Point de Sud (Kivurugu Isle on later maps) on Songo Mnara. La Carcasse is marked opposite Pierre Brulier and would appear to be a shipwreck on the foreshore.

33The anchorage at the main village is shown correctly on the northwest side of the island with Castle Islet called Isle des Mangles (Mangrove Isle). The importance of water to the seafarers is again highlighted in that they are shown as fontaines on the chart in the village.

Figure 13. Wharton’s (1877) survey of Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour

Figure 13. Wharton’s (1877) survey of Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

  • 44 Davidson, The African Slave Trade, p. 196; Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 192–3.
  • 45 F.J. Gray, Kiswere Harbour. Surveyed by J.W. Dixon, C.P. Vereker & W.S. White, W.H. Petley & C. Ge (...)

34To the north of Kilwa is the Mafia archipelago, which extends between Ras Matuso and Ras Pembamnazi (Figure 14). Joseph Crassons de Medeuil, a French slaving captain who was twice a Kilwa in the late 1770s, complained that the islands and reefs between Mafia and Kilwa are not marked on maps. There is a mass of islands which occupy a space of more than 10 leagues, notably the island of Songo Songo which is thickly populated.44 The largest island in this archipelago is Mafia itself while, of the islands south of Mafia, the largest are Songo Songo and Njove. On the exposed eastern coasts of the islands, the limestone forms wave-cut platforms, wave-cut notch cliffs and fringing reefs, though the western side of islands and the mainland opposite is sandier probably helped by sediments from the Rufiji Delta. Previously, Crassons de Medeuil is reported to have bargained for slaves and food supplies at Songo Songo in 1754.45

  • 46 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 280.
  • 47 Ibid., p. 280–1.

35As noted, Songo Songo lies on the sea route between Kilwa and Mafia: “Fungu Jewe is a large reef 3 miles north of Fungu Amana, leaving a deep and clear channel between, which is the main passage for vessels into Kilwa Kivinje”46 (Figure 15). “The main passage into Kilwa Kivinje is formed by Fanjove, Luala, and Jewe reefs on the north, and the Mwanamkaya and Amana on the south.” Fanjove is recorded as covered with tall trees and can be seen from 14 miles to the east on a clear day. Steering to Kilwa Kivinje from the east a vessel should pass 4 to 5 miles south of Fanjove until the breakers are seen giving them a berth of at least ½ mile.47 Kilwa Kivinje, 25 km north of Kilwa Kisiwani, was the main port in the Kilwa area in 19th century during Omani and German rule of this coast. Fanjove is known as Njove today: its importance to navigation encouraged the German colonial power built a lighthouse there in 1894 (Figure 16). Boats can land at high and low tide on the sand spit orientated west from the limestone island, and it is an important fishing port today including for tortoise and whale as evidenced from the bones recorded in the archaeological survey.

  • 48 Ibid., p. 281.

36Archaeological survey in 2004 revealed no water on Njove, while the lighthouse has cisterns built into it to catch rainwater. However, Songo Songo has more supplies both in the past and now. “Songa Songa… stands on a broad reef… surrounded by extensive shallow water on all sides but the north-western, where Pumbavu a small sandy islet with a few scattered trees on it, is connected to the mainland by a neck of sand half a mile long. … Songa Songa has a village near its eastern shore, and wells with tolerably good water in the coral nearby in its centre, which are difficult to access and best approached from its western side. Bullocks and goats are bred on the island.”48 The wells are called Panga Kubwa and Panga Kidogo.

37These are limestone caves or sinkholes in the centre of the island, and are the water source for the island. They are important enough to be recorded as wells on Admiralty Charts (Wharton, 1904) (Figure 17). Survey and excavation at Panga Kubwa revealed late 1st millennium to 20th century mostly water pot both local imported from the Middle East, India and the Far East. The cave is surrounded by baobab trees and bee hives. A high level of breakage would be expected when lowering and raising water pots in and out of the cave, as steps down into the cave were not built until the 20th century.

  • 49 Owen, Sheet IX: The East Coast of Africa. Surveyed 1824 by Captain A.T.E. Vidal and the officers o (...)

38Pumbavu is shown as very close to the channel in Owen’s survey49 and again where marked as “sandy neck” in Wharton (1876) (Figure 15). It is marked with an anchorage beside it on a German chart from 1886 (Figure 18). Survey of Pumbavu showed a grassy islet with bushes and trees attached to Songo Songo by a tidal tombolo formed on bedrock of shelly sandstone and limestone (Figure 19). Pieces of pot have concreted to this rock indicating that it was used as a landing place, though the pot here is too eroded to date. It is a steep beach at high and low tide on the seaward point of the islet and fishermen walk along the tombolo to unload the boats that pass here. There are a few pieces of unidentified pot on the tombolo.

Figure 14. Redrawn map of French chart (E. Pollard)

Figure 14. Redrawn map of French chart (E. Pollard)

Source of original: gallica.bnf.fr.

  • 50 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 29.
  • 51 Ibid., p. 281.
  • 52 De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to (...)

39Further north, Mafia is the largest of a group of islands opposite the Rufiji Delta (Figure 4). Ras Kisimani, the western point of Mafia Island… is steep-to with deep water off it. There is no reef off the point itself… Tolerably good water was obtained for the dhows, by digging holes in the sand on the northern side of the point…’ ‘Boydu [Bwejuu] Island is opposite Ras Kisimani, and in the centre of the channel between Mafia Island and the mainland… covered with tall casuarinas.”50 (Figure 20.) “The western channel of the Mafia Channel is marred by a shoal at its southern end, and which is difficult to be seen, and it is besides somewhat tortuous. The eastern channel, or that by Ras Kisimani, is however straight, with a minimum breadth of half a mile, and depth of 5 fathoms, and the current runs nearly in line of the channel.”51Kissomong Point, the western extreme of Monfia… is a favourite resort of slave dhows for water and supplies when trading between Keelwa and Zanzibar. The population in the vicinity of Kissomang Point appeared to be considerable, and turned out armed in such large numbers on the approach of our boats, after the seizure of a slave dhow, that the officer did not consider it prudent to land.”52

Figure 15. Songo Songo (Songa Songa), Njove (Fanjove) and Fungu Jewi (Gungwera) shown by Owen (1828) (left) and Wharton (1876) (right)

Figure 15. Songo Songo (Songa Songa), Njove (Fanjove) and Fungu Jewi (Gungwera) shown by Owen (1828) (left) and Wharton (1876) (right)

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Figure 16. Njove Island showing the landing place and lighthouse (left) with gothic inscription Fnljovi? 1894 on lighthouse (right). Scale shows 0.35 m

Figure 16. Njove Island showing the landing place and lighthouse (left) with gothic inscription Fnljovi? 1894 on lighthouse (right). Scale shows 0.35 m

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Figure 17. Admiralty Chart of Songo Songo and Njove (Fanjove) Island showing wells on Songo Songo (Wharton, 1916)

Figure 17. Admiralty Chart of Songo Songo and Njove (Fanjove) Island showing wells on Songo Songo (Wharton, 1916)

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Figure 18. Pumbavu landing place on Songo Songo shown on German chart (Hoffman, 1886)

Figure 18. Pumbavu landing place on Songo Songo shown on German chart (Hoffman, 1886)

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Figure 19. Pumbavu Islet on Songo Songo at high tide showing vessels passing and landing

Figure 19. Pumbavu Islet on Songo Songo at high tide showing vessels passing and landing
  • 53 Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 299.
  • 54 Neville Chittick, Kisimani Mafia: Excavations at an Islamic Settlement on the East African Coast ( (...)
  • 55 ARDA Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities for the Year 1959 (The Government Printer, 196 (...)

40The west-orientated sand spit archaeological site of Kisimani Mafia, at Ras Kisimani (interprets as the headland of the wells) is similar to Pumbavu Islet on Songo Songo in that it could be used during both monsoons. Kisimani’s territory traditionally stretched to Bwejuu, an island 6 km west in the Mafia Channel.53 Kisimani and Bwejuu would have controlled access to the approaches to Kilwa further south as boats would have to pass very close to avoid going around the more dangerous east coast of Mafia. Neville Chittick’s excavations54 on Mafia Kisimani revealed an important 13th- to 16th-century settlement with three mosques and three wells covering 4 ha situated about 1 km from the tip of the cape of and cut off from Mafia Island by a mangrove swamp. Chittick said Kilwa’s control of Mafia likely resulted in the foundation of Kisimani Mafia probably in the 13th century. Trading evidence from Kisimani includes southern Asian ceramics, glass, Kilwa-type coins and a coin from one of the Chola rulers of South India. A well belonging to one of the mosques yielded good water and the place name Kisimani is developed from the Swahili word kisima meaning well, which indicates the importance of the site for passing boats to obtain water. ARDA55 found it necessary to remark that the well blocks are cut on the curve and constitute very fine masonry, further indicating the importance of the site and especially the well.

Figure 20. Owen (1828) Sheet IX: The East Coast of Africa, surveyed 1824; Wharton (1876) Kilwa Point to Zanzibar Channel

Figure 20. Owen (1828) Sheet IX: The East Coast of Africa, surveyed 1824; Wharton (1876) Kilwa Point to Zanzibar Channel

Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

41These sand spit landing places are ports of call for supplies such as water, but also boat repair for vessels approaching Kilwa. To the north of Mafia, these islands include Kwale, Koma, Bongoyo and Zanzibar. Bongoyo to the north of Dar es Salaam Harbour, probably acted as a landing place and anchorage for medieval settlements at Msasani and Kunduchi. Large dressed blocks on the foreshore just below the sandstone spit are evidence of boats landing here (Figure 21). They may have been cargo for building, ballast or used as anchors.

Figure 21. Dressed stone on sand spit landing place at Bongoyo Island near Dar es Salaam

Figure 21. Dressed stone on sand spit landing place at Bongoyo Island near Dar es Salaam

Discussion

42The nautical charts starting in 18th century have the potential to direct archaeological sur­veys to features such as landing places, ferry crossings, settlement buildings, fish trap fenc­es and navigation towers. The earliest charts of use in this regard are French dating from 18th-century: they show anchorages, entrances to harbours and the associated ports. The 19th- to early 20th-century Admiralty charts are particularly useful for understanding the coastal morphology prior to field investigation, and for providing base maps for coastal survey.

43The charts help identify how vessels previously sailed the coast around Kilwa, and indicate where they landed. Important anchorages, including Kilwa Kisiwani Port, are shown from 18th-century charts. In Kiswere Harbour either the north or south shore can be chosen for anchorage according to which monsoon prevails, but the south side (near Kiswere Village) is preferred compared to the Mtumbu side. This preference is reflected in the long history of occupation at Kiswere Village (dating from late 1st millennium AD) compared to Mtumbu (dating from 19th century).

44The French charts and sailing directions show that Port Nisus is the most convenient anchorage in Sangarungu Harbour at Kilwa, and this prime location is reflected in the presence of stone towns surrounding this part of the harbour. The Admiralty charts and intertidal survey reveal how the ports were approached previously in that the reef coral causeway had been modified to form a landing place at Chani at the northern entrance to Sangarungu Harbour, and the landing place of the stone town of Songo Mnara is shown as a passage through the mangroves, although it is overgrown today.

45The sailing directions discuss the navigation features as well as dangers to shipping on route to Kilwa. Njove is recorded as covered with tall trees and this marking of the island is reinforced when the German colonial power built a lighthouse in 1894. Bwejuu Island, opposite Kisimani Mafia, is covered with tall casuarinas. The distinctive intertidal reef coral and sand causeways, islets and platforms, often marked by mangroves, show the entrances to harbours. They are described in 19th-century sailing directions at the northern entrance to Kiswere Harbour, the southern entrance to Roango Bay, and approaching Sangarungu and Kilwa Kiswere Harbours. Furthermore, the Portuguese and Omani castle, or Geriza, and a large baobab tree in Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour are seen clearly by vessels entering the harbour and are used for navigation along with the white sand and cliff features. Complementing the causeways, the stone town of Songo Mnara displays a tower as a navigational feature for boats approaching the port. These navigational features are all shown on 18th-century French charts.

46Boat channels for dhows are recorded at Roango Bay and Mto Porwe, the intertidal southern entrance to Sangarungu Harbour. The former has not been visited by the author and the latter has been difficult to archaeologically survey due to the distance that has to be walked, after arriving by boat at Mwanikiwamba, from main survey bases on Songo Mnara, Kilwa Masoko and Kilwa Kisiwani. Furthermore, the depth of mud approaching Mwanikiwamba, and to the south towards Mto Porwe from the landward creek side, makes intertidal survey very difficult. The furthest point reached south are the cliffs at the southern end of Songo Mnara, where there are small landing places with pottery dated to 11th to 13th century. To the south of the cliffs the intertidal area of wave-cut limestone platform seaward, and mangrove swamp on mud and silt landward, remain to be archaeologically surveyed. This includes the boat channels used by some dhows at high tide approaching Kilwa.

47Place-names derived both from charts and archaeological survey might also determine areas of previous occupation. For example, Waarabu Weusi near Mtumbu refers to an area of Arab settlement, or Swahili who claim descent from Arabia. Some clue as to the purpose of the Mto Porwe entrance to Sangarungu Harbour may lie in one of the place names, Mkurulengamunyu, for the landward creek in that lenga can mean “keep quiet” or “not get in touch,” suggesting this was a secret entrance to Kilwa perhaps during Portuguese embargoes on Kilwa. This is reinforced in that this passage is not shown on the French maps (Figures 9, 11–12).

48Water was a particular priority for vessels and the most important ports have wells nearby, either inside caves or stone-built wells. Here vessels would have stopped for supplies, possible repair of their boats as well as perhaps some minor trading. The maps and sailing directions reveal a series of possible stopovers or ports of call for trading ships to obtain food, water and effect repairs along the east African coast. To the north of Kilwa, these are often sand spits on islands where boats can land at high or low tide, including Pumbavu on Songo Songo and Kisimani Mafia. There is evidence to the south of Kilwa as well as Kiswere Village in Kiswere Harbour which has a navigable fresh-water stream, stone wells and food supplies. Conversely, water supplies at Mtumbu are poor, but it still became important in the 19th century perhaps in connection with tha slave trade. The northern approach to Kiswere Harbour includes the 13th- to 15th-century settlement of Mitimiru, and a series of caves used as sources of water are found between Kiswere and Pande. Roanga has a 15th-century mosque, a stone house, and three tombs have been recorded: boats in the 19th century were able to stop there for supplies from the village.

49The 1775 French chart refers to Morice Island as the Isle of Goats suggesting supplies there, while Pierre Brulier (burnt rock) is presumably a reference to lime-making, lime being a resource that was traded along the coast. The importance of water to the seafarers is again highlighted in that wells are shown on the chart in Kilwa Kisiwani Port. Furthermore, areas to be entered only if necessary are also marked such as Baye des Cousins (Bay of Mosquitoes).

Conclusion

50The descriptions of the coast provided by 18th- and 19th-century sailors and chart-makers with particular regard to navigational features, port approaches, possible dangers, favoured anchorages, and availability of supplies, are all of interest in their own right. However, they also provide a valuable indication of potential sites for maritime archaeological research, for instance dive sites in the vicinity of anchorages, or routes to those anchorages, in view of the possible foundering of vessels or jettisoning of ballast and damaged goods. They also point to locations away from the main trading and political centre of Kilwa which were visited by ships on passage for the purpose of re-provisioning or for more localised trade. Such sites provide the possibility of both on-shore artefactual evidence, as well as materials in the inter-tidal and sub-tidal zones. The archaeological work already conducted in the inter-tidal and immediate coastal areas at many of the sites noted in the charts and records confirm settlement and economic activity in the medieval period. Nonetheless, not all areas have been reached, while only cursory examination has been undertaken of the potentially revealing sub-tidal zone in the many anchorages surrounding Kilwa Kisiwani, the central focus of the medieval sultanate, and the likely repository of significant insights into its history.

Thanks are due to Prof Bertram Mapunda, Elgidius Ichumbaki and Prof Felix Chami (Dar es Salaam), Dr Amandus Kwakeson (Tanzania National Museum), Drs Colin Breen and Rory Quinn (Ulster), Dr Nicole Boivin (Oxford), Prof Paul Lane (Uppsala), Dr Joost Fontein (BIEA), Prof Christian Thibon and Dr. Carla Bocchetti (IFRA), Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones (York/Uppsala) and Dr Jeffrey Fleisher (Rice) for supporting the research. Adrian Webb, Guy Hannaford and Ann-Marie Fitzsimmons of UKHO provided their time and advice in searching the admiralty archives. Fieldwork was funded and supported by University of Ulster, BIEA, NERC-funded Sealinks Project, Songo Mnara Project, British Academy. Students from the University of Dar es Salaam assisted in the survey and excavations. Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is thanked for issuing several permits for fieldwork.

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Bibliographie

ARDA. Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities for the Year 1959. Dar es Salaam: The Government Printer, 1960.

ARDA. Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities for the Year 1959. Dar es Salaam: The Government Printer, 1966.

Blake, J. The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts. London: Conway, 2009.

Chittick, N. Kisimani Mafia: Excavations at an Islamic Settlement on the East African Coast. Tanganyika: Government Printer, 1961.

Chittick, N. Kilwa: An Islamic Trading City on the East African Coast. Nairobi: British Institute in Eastern Africa, 1974.

Davidson, B. The African Slave Trade. Boston (MA): Little Brown, 1988.

De Horsey, A.F.R. The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Guardafui, including the islands in the Mozambique Channel. Second Edition Hydrographic Office, Admiralty, 1865.

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De Horsey, A.F.R. The Africa Pilot Part III: South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Ras Asir (Cape Guardafui), including the Comoro Islands. Sixth Edition Hydrographic Office, Admiralty, 1897.

Gray, F.J. Kiswere Harbour. Surveyed by J.W. Dixon, C.P. Vereker & W.S. White, W. H. Petley and C. George under the direction of Lieutenant Commanding F.J. Gray, H.M.S. Nassau. Chart 687, 1874.

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Harrison, W. (N.D.). Plan of Quiloa and its Environs on the East Coast of Africa from the Observations of the Sieur Morice. Published by A. Dalrymple. Gallica/Bibliothèque nationale de France. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b7759855g

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Pollard, E.J.D. “Inter-tidal Causeways and Platforms of the Thirteenth- to Sixteenth-century Citystate of Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania.” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 37, n° 1 (2008b): 98–114.

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Pollard, E.J.D., J. Fleisher & S. Wynne-Jones. “Beyond the Stone Town: Maritime Architecture at Fourteenth-Fifteenth Century Songo Mnara, Tanzania.” Journal of Maritime Archaeology 7, n° 1 (2012): 43–62. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-012-9094-9

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Notes

1 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The French at Kilwa Island (Clarendon Press, 1965), p. 9–11.

2 John Blake, The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts (Conway, 2009) p. 40.

3 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast: Select Documents from the First to the Earlier Nineteenth Century (Clarendon Press, 1962).

4 J.Spencer Trimingham, The Arab Geographers, in East Africa and the Orient, ed. by H.N. Chittick & R.I. Rotberg (Holmes & Miers Publishers,1975), p. 127–8.

5 Neville Chittick, Kilwa: An Islamic Trading City on the East African Coast (British Institute in Eastern Africa, 1974), p. 237–8.

6 Mark Horton & J. Middleton, The Swahili: The Social Landscape of a Mercantile Society (Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2000) p. 101; J.E. Sutton, “Kilwa: A history of the ancient Swahili town with a guide to the monuments of Kilwa and adjacent islands.” Azania 33 (1998): 113–169, p. 113.

7 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 91–2. Mark Horton & J. Middleton, The Swahili, p. 81.

8 Chittick, Kilwa, p. 239–40. Stephanie Wynne-Jones, Urbanization at Kilwa, Tanzania AD 800–1400 (University of Cambridge: PhD Thesis, 2005), p. 116. Edward J.D. Pollard, The Archaeology of the Tanzanian Coastal Landscapes in the 6th to 15th Centuries AD (BAR International Series 1873: Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology 76, 2008).

9 Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 105, 107.

10 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The Medieval History of the Coast of Tanganyika (Oxford University Press, 1962), p. 82; Chittick, Kilwa, p. 15.

11 G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The French at Kilwa Island, p. 49–50; G.S.P.Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 192–3.

12 Basil Davidson, The African Slave Trade (Little Brown, 1988).

13 Freeman-Grenville, The French at Kilwa Island, p. 133.

14 Blake, The Sea Chart, p. 62.

15 A.F.R. De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III: South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Guardafui, including the Islands in the Mozambique Channel. Third Edition Hydrographic Office, Admiralty 1878. p. 270.

16 Ibid., p. 269.

17 A.F.R. De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Guardafui, including the Islands in the Mozambique Channel. Second Edition Hydrographic Office, Admiralty 1865. .

18 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 270.

19 Ibid.

20 Edward J.D. Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries: A Unique Navigational Complex in South-East Tanzania.” World Archaeology 43, n° 3 (2011): 458–477.

21 A.F.R. De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 269.

22 Ibid., p. 270.

23 ARDA Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities for the Year 1959 (The Government Printer, 1960), p. 28.

24 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 270–1.

25 J.C. Morgan, “The Machinga Caves (with a note on those on Songo-Songo Island, and the Tawa-Pondo Cave).” Tanganyika Notes and Records 7 (1939): 59–71, p. 64–66.

26 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 271.

27 Ibid., p. 272.

28 De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Guardafui, p. 182.

29 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 272.

30 Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 196.

31 Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries.”

32 De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Guardafui, p. 181.

33 Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries.”

34 Edward J.D. Pollard, J. Fleisher & S. Wynne-Jones, “Beyond the Stone Town: Maritime Architecture at Fourteenth-Fifteenth Century Songo Mnara, Tanzania.” Journal of Maritime Archaeology 7: 43–62 (2012).

35 Edward J.D. Pollard, “Inter-tidal Causeways and Platforms of the Thirteenth to Sixteenth-Century City-state of Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania.” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 37, n° 1 (2008): 98–114.

36 Pollard, The Archaeology of the Tanzanian Coastal Landscapes.

37 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 277.

38 Pollard, “Safeguarding Swahili Trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries.”

39 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 276.

40 Ibid., p. 274.

41 Ibid., p. 273.

42 Ibid., p. 275.

43 Ibid., p. 275.

44 Davidson, The African Slave Trade, p. 196; Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 192–3.

45 F.J. Gray, Kiswere Harbour. Surveyed by J.W. Dixon, C.P. Vereker & W.S. White, W.H. Petley & C. George under the direction of Lieutenant Commanding F.J. Gray, H.M.S. Nassau. Chart 687. 1874.

46 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 280.

47 Ibid., p. 280–1.

48 Ibid., p. 281.

49 Owen, Sheet IX: The East Coast of Africa. Surveyed 1824 by Captain A.T.E. Vidal and the officers of the HMS Barracouta and Albatros under the orders of Captain W.F.W Owen. Chart 662. 1828.

50 De Horsey, The Africa Pilot Part III, p. 29.

51 Ibid., p. 281.

52 De Horsey, The African Pilot for the South and East Coasts of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Guardafui, p. 188.

53 Freeman-Grenville, The East African Coast, p. 299.

54 Neville Chittick, Kisimani Mafia: Excavations at an Islamic Settlement on the East African Coast (The Government Printer, 1961), p. 1.

55 ARDA Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities for the Year 1959 (The Government Printer, 1966).

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. The East African coast showing monsoon winds of the Western Indian Ocean (E. Pollard)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 614k
Titre Figure 2. André Thevet’s l’Isle de Quiloa (1586) (left) refers to Good Sand (Bonne Sande) in an anchorage off the Town of Kilwa (Ville de Quiloa)
Légende The Temple on the mainland may be Songo Mnara. Some features could be identifiable from archaeological survey, but the presence of hills and European-style housing on the island shows this map has imaginative elements. Furthermore, the place-name Ville de Mangalo, which was a settlement located c. 90 km south of Kilwa, shows the scale to be inaccurate as the island of Kilwa is only c. 7 km long. Jacques-Nicolas Bellin’s Plan de l’isle et ville de Quiloa (1746) (right) shows the proximity of the island to the mainland, but no attempt is made to show a harbour and the main settlement is depicted as covering most on the island whereas in reality it was concentrated in the north-west (Source: gallica.bnf.fr).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 2,4M
Titre Figure 3. Section of William Hacke’s late 17th-century chart (A Description of the Sea Coasts…) showing Cape Delgado (C. Del Gada) at the mouth of the Ruvuma River to Mafia Island (Monfia)
Légende The chart shows some water depths, an anchorage at Mafia Island and the presence of stone buildings around Kilwa (Quiloa). The anchorage is presumably Chole Bay but is marked on the east side of Mafia instead of the south. The stone buildings at Kilwa are drawn where space is available rather than accurately depicting location (Source: British Library).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-3.png
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Titre Figure 4. Sites mentioned around Kilwa (E. Pollard)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 506k
Titre Figure 5. Fishing stakes marking out fish trap fences at the mouth of the Mto Kiswere where Kiswere Village lies (Gray, 1874)
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 1,5M
Titre Figure 6. Quayside at Mtumbu (E. Pollard) (left); Well at Mtumbu (E. Pollard) (right)
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 3,2M
Titre Figure 7. Mtumbu (Mtumbo) Village showing the ferry crossing from the opposite river bank (Gray, 1874)
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-7.png
Fichier image/png, 1,2M
Titre Figure 8. Kilwa Ria (E. Pollard)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-8.png
Fichier image/png, 373k
Titre Figure 9. Mto Pawi and Porwe Pass at southern end of Songo Mnara (Wharton, 1903)
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-9.png
Fichier image/png, 521k
Titre Figure 10. (Left) Entrance to Sangarungu Harbour (Owen, 1827) showing Direction Rocks and referring to the fallen tower at Pagoda Point
Légende (Right) Wharton’s (1877) Kilwa Kisiwani survey shows a passage through the mangroves to the landing place at Songo Mnara and a passage across the reef to Watiro island. (Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-10.png
Fichier image/png, 5,1M
Titre Figure 11. Morice’s charts of Kilwa: (Left) Plan de Quiloa corrigé sur les observations de M Morice; (Right) Plan particular de Quiloa et ses environs, situé à la côte d’Afrique (North is at the top.)
Crédits Source: BIEA archives.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-11.png
Fichier image/png, 1,0M
Titre Figure 12. English version of Morice’s chart of Kilwa (Harrison, N.D.). West is at the top
Crédits Source: gallica.bnf.fr.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-12.png
Fichier image/png, 413k
Titre Figure 13. Wharton’s (1877) survey of Kilwa Kisiwani Harbour
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-13.png
Fichier image/png, 1,2M
Titre Figure 14. Redrawn map of French chart (E. Pollard)
Crédits Source of original: gallica.bnf.fr.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-14.png
Fichier image/png, 596k
Titre Figure 15. Songo Songo (Songa Songa), Njove (Fanjove) and Fungu Jewi (Gungwera) shown by Owen (1828) (left) and Wharton (1876) (right)
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-15.png
Fichier image/png, 739k
Titre Figure 16. Njove Island showing the landing place and lighthouse (left) with gothic inscription Fnljovi? 1894 on lighthouse (right). Scale shows 0.35 m
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-16.png
Fichier image/png, 4,1M
Titre Figure 17. Admiralty Chart of Songo Songo and Njove (Fanjove) Island showing wells on Songo Songo (Wharton, 1916)
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-17.png
Fichier image/png, 885k
Titre Figure 18. Pumbavu landing place on Songo Songo shown on German chart (Hoffman, 1886)
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-18.png
Fichier image/png, 438k
Titre Figure 19. Pumbavu Islet on Songo Songo at high tide showing vessels passing and landing
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-19.png
Fichier image/png, 1,6M
Titre Figure 20. Owen (1828) Sheet IX: The East Coast of Africa, surveyed 1824; Wharton (1876) Kilwa Point to Zanzibar Channel
Crédits Source: UKHO. NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-20.png
Fichier image/png, 1,4M
Titre Figure 21. Dressed stone on sand spit landing place at Bongoyo Island near Dar es Salaam
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/332/img-21.png
Fichier image/png, 3,5M
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Edward Pollard, « Interpreting Medieval to Post-Medieval Seafaring in South East Tanzania Using 18th- to 20th-Century Charts and Sailing Directions »Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est / The East African Review, 51 | 2016, 99-125.

Référence électronique

Edward Pollard, « Interpreting Medieval to Post-Medieval Seafaring in South East Tanzania Using 18th- to 20th-Century Charts and Sailing Directions »Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est / The East African Review [En ligne], 51 | 2016, mis en ligne le 07 mai 2019, consulté le 28 novembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/332

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Auteur

Edward Pollard

Edward Pollard is a graduate of University of Bristol and University of Ulster and a former Assistant Director at the British Institute of Eastern Africa (BIEA). He has research interests in maritime archaeology and geo-archaeology with experience from around the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. He has worked as an archaeological consultant in Australia, Ireland and Scotland, and taught archaeology in Menorca and Orkney. Since 2002 he has been visiting the East African coast working on coastal, intertidal and underwater environments and has research projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.

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Droits d’auteur

Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est / The East African Review

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