A beach on Zanzibar via Wikimedia
CAIRO – 11 August 2017: A group of Archaeologists have dug into Zanzibar's Arab past, learning more about a fallen Gulf empire, and it's all thanks to the stories of an old sailor from the UAE.
80 year old Mohamed Ali Mubarak Al Hammadi's granddaughter, Mariyam Al Hammadi talks to the National about the tales her grandfather told her about his bygone days of sailing in the 1950s, where he would trade between nations like Mombasa, Muscat and Zanzibar, following in the footsteps of ancient merchants.
The Archaeologists, hailing from Zayed University where Mariyam studied, researched old oral traditions and headed to Zanzibar, where they followed Indian ceramics and discovered the lost history of Zanzibar's Arab colonialism. The team was joined by international archaeologists such as the University of Bristol’s Mark Horton, who led them over two excavations in the Unguja Ukuu ruins and an Arab fort in Zanzibar's stone town.
Their findings have helped uncover more bits of Arab history, going through six phases overall; the remains of a 12-13th century African village, one from the 14-15th century, ruins of a Church from the 17th century, an 18th century Omani fortress which was transformed by the 19th century into a lady's club when the British arrived.
From the stories of an old man came an expedition that uncovered the lost Arab history of Zanzibar.