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The contribution of mangroves in the Swahili civilization
Wachawaseme, F. G. (2007). The contribution of mangroves in the Swahili civilization. MA Thesis. University of Dar es Salaam: Dar es salaam. 114 pp.

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Document type: Dissertation

Author keywords
    Swahili architecture

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  • Wachawaseme, F. G.

    This dissertation critically examines the contribution of mangroves in the Swahili architecture, which is part of the Swahili civilization, architecturally characterized by building in coral and lime different structures including water reservoirs, deep-water wells, mosques, houses, and Palaces, some of which are still standing. Most of these structures used mangrove timber in a way along its construction process. The study investigates some information lacking in archaeological record on mangroves that were used for roofing and ceiling purposes, with emphasis on the size differences (width &length) among the poles/ bolts as well as the spacing of the bolts. Also the reasons which made mangrove timber more preferred by the users than any other wood species have also been given due weight. Accordingly, the study proposes a formula that can be used to guide the estimation of mangrove timber used in any given Swahili monument, and through it, establishing a scientific guess of how mangrove harvested for construction may have affected mangrove depletion through time. Based on this, examination and analysis have revealed that mangrove timber was highly used in construction of the Swahili houses. For example, using Makutani Palace as a realistic case in this study, it has been estimated under the guidance of the proposed formula that about 2,302 mangrove poles were consumed in the construction of the Palace.

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