Getting Here



 The Fifth International Workshop for African Archaeobotany will be held 2-5 July, 2006
at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. For scheduled papers and absracts select days below.






Institute of


Getting Here




Wednesday, 5 July, 2006

Session: Archaeobotany and political economy--
Cash crops, perennials and the organization of production


The missing maize - archaeobotanical research in Southern Malawi

Ingrid Heijen

University of Leiden
The Netherlands

Over the period 2001-2005 archaeological research has been carried out by M.Welling in the Lower Shire Valley in Malawi. The research was focussing on the so-called Lundu kingdom, a kingdom present in this area from at least 1500 to c. 1860 AD. Aim of the research is to get better understanding of the 'identity' of the Lundu state. An archaeobotanical component was added to the project. Partly the archaeobotanical research was carried out in service of the Lundu Archaeology Project, but the value of the research stretches further. It is for the first time that systematic archaeobotanical research has been carried out in Malawi. The archaeobotanical research was conducted in Mbewe ya Mitengo, the place where the ancient Lundu resided according to oral tradition. The goals of the archaeobotanical research included establishing a clear view of the way in which different types of plants have been utilized, investigating the introduction of South American food crops and the methods of crop cultivation. The results of the archaeobotanical research turned out to be of significant value in bringing back to life the daily practice in Mbewe ya Mitengo. In addition, the results clearly show that much effort is needed to tackle some of the setbacks that came up in the research, for example the further identification of still unidentifiable carbonized seeds.



return to 5 July schedule

Monday schedule . . . Tuesday 4 July


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Last modified: 1/6/06