Safeguarding maritime heritage for sustainable development in coastal sites in Tanzania

Participating Researchers and Institutions

  • Dr Elgidius B. Ichumbaki – University of Dar es Salaam
  • Dr Richard Bates – University of St. Andrews
  • Dr Edward Pollard – Discovery Programme

Project Summary

Fragility and ‘fragile areas’ are important aspects of almost all historic sites and associated heritage in developing countries, particularly those along the coasts where the surrounding communities often experience substantial poverty. Coastal communities are no strangers to fragility and change both as a result of the surrounding dynamic environment and by the rise and fall of civilizations that they have experienced for centuries.  This project addresses issues of fragility of maritime heritage focusing at a threatened World Heritage site of Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania.

The project addresses research of fragile heritage above and below water together with training at national (academic) and local (tourism sector) level for long-term preservation and management of both tangible and intangible heritage.  The project answers two questions: what is there today and what will be left tomorrow? For the first question, the project intends to make a permanent (digital) record of assets before they are lost.  With the second question, we envisage to enable the local community to appreciate and record their heritage on a regular basis rather than relying on recordings by foreign researchers. Implementation of this objective will result to monitoring of the changes, hence, allow actions to be taken to protect the assets.  Further, by engaging the local community, a greater sense of ownership and appropriate heritage valorisation will be created, thus allowing informed decisions on the future of the heritage.

Project Duration: 6 months, January – June 2019