Publications by authors named "Jeffrey Fleisher"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Reconstructing Asian faunal introductions to eastern Africa from multi-proxy biomolecular and archaeological datasets.

PLoS One 2017 17;12(8):e0182565. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany.

Human-mediated biological exchange has had global social and ecological impacts. In sub-Saharan Africa, several domestic and commensal animals were introduced from Asia in the pre-modern period; however, the timing and nature of these introductions remain contentious. One model supports introduction to the eastern African coast after the mid-first millennium CE, while another posits introduction dating back to 3000 BCE. These distinct scenarios have implications for understanding the emergence of long-distance maritime connectivity, and the ecological and economic impacts of introduced species. Resolution of this longstanding debate requires new efforts, given the lack of well-dated fauna from high-precision excavations, and ambiguous osteomorphological identifications. We analysed faunal remains from 22 eastern African sites spanning a wide geographic and chronological range, and applied biomolecular techniques to confirm identifications of two Asian taxa: domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) and black rat (Rattus rattus). Our approach included ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis aided by BLAST-based bioinformatics, Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) collagen fingerprinting, and direct AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) radiocarbon dating. Our results support a late, mid-first millennium CE introduction of these species. We discuss the implications of our findings for models of biological exchange, and emphasize the applicability of our approach to tropical areas with poor bone preservation.
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October 2017

When Did the Swahili Become Maritime?

Am Anthropol 2015 Mar;117(1):100-115

Department of Archaeology, University of York York, YO1 7EP, United Kingdom.

In this article, we examine an assumption about the historic Swahili of the eastern African coast: that they were a maritime society from their beginnings in the first millennium C.E. Based on historical and archaeological data, we suggest that, despite their proximity to and use of the sea, the level of maritimity of Swahili society increased greatly over time and was only fully realized in the early second millennium C.E. Drawing on recent theorizing from other areas of the world about maritimity as well as research on the Swahili, we discuss three arenas that distinguish first- and second-millennium coastal society in terms of their maritime orientation. These are variability and discontinuity in settlement location and permanence; evidence of increased engagement with the sea through fishing and sailing technology; and specialized architectural developments involving port facilities, mosques, and houses. The implications of this study are that we must move beyond coastal location in determining maritimity; consider how the sea and its products were part of social life; and assess whether the marine environment actively influences and is influenced by broader patterns of sociocultural organization, practice, and belief within Swahili and other societies. [].

Resumen: En este artículo, evaluamos la hipótesis de que los pueblos Swahili de la costa oriental africana fueron una sociedad marítima a partir del primer milenio E.C. Basados en información histórica y arqueológica, proponemos que la asociación de la sociedad Swahili con el mar incrementó considerablemente con el tiempo y se manifestó de una forma significativa particularmente desde principios del segundo milenio E.C. Utilizando teorías recientes sobre maritimidad en otras áreas del mundo, así como investigaciones sobre los Swahili, discutimos tres temas que marcan las diferencias del nivel de orientación marítima de esta sociedad costera entre el primer y segundo milenio. Éstas son la variabilidad y discontinuidad en la localización y permanencia de los asentamientos; evidencia de una conexión mayor con el mar a través de la tecnología de pesca y navegación; y desarrollos arquitectónicos especializados que incluyen instalaciones portuarias, mezquitas, y casas. Las implicaciones de este estudio indican que debemos considerar otros aspectos de una sociedad aparte de su localización costera para determinar su maritimidad. Hay que considerar cómo el mar y sus productos son parte de la vida social y evaluar si existe una influencia recíproca entre el ambiente marítimo y los patrones de organización sociocultural, las prácticas, y las creencias de los Swahili y otras sociedades. [].
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March 2015