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


Islands of Agriculture on Lake Victoria

Andrew Reid

Institute of Archaeology, University College London

The northern and western margins of Lake Victoria are now best known for their abundant banana cultivation which supported a number of states in which political power lay in the control of access to extensive plantations. However, the plantations in these areas are now in serious decline. The response to these developments has been to spread banana cultivation much further west in order to supply the Kampala market. It would seem, however, that such shifts can only be a temporary stop gap. Meanwhile, on the lake itself evidence for seemingly more intensive field systems has previously been noted on several islands of the northern part of the lake and in the case of Ukara, these systems were still in use in the twentieth century. Recent work in Buganda together with a reappraisal of the evidence from Lolui, provides some further evidence for these systems and suggest they were related to grain production. The association of such sites with political changes around AD 1000 and long distance trade across the lake is intriguing as is also their potential role in the initial spread of banana plantation agriculture. These sites clearly warrant further palaeobotanical attention as does the nutritional consequences of the change from grain to banana cultivation.



return to 5 July schedule

Monday schedule . . . Tuesday 4 July


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Last modified: 1/06/06