Collaborations and plans for the future

This blog is written by CONCH's project coordinator, Dr Stephanie Wynne-Jones, of the University of York. She reflects back on the success of last years work and looks forward to the future plans for the CONCH project in Kilwa, this summer.





Working with colleagues as part of the Conch network over the course of 2018 has been a great experience for many reasons. The project activities in Pangani during July and August 2018 introduced us to so many fantastic colleagues. I think everyone who travelled to Pangani from the UK was really impressed with the work that Uzikwasa are doing in the region. Their model of leadership training and community champions for social change translates well into thinking about heritage and the ways that we might organise community projects in the future. The Pangarithi heritage centre offered us the perfect base for operations and we are excited to have begun the process of thinking with Uzikwasa about how we can maximise its potential for promoting knowledge and engagement with Pangani’s rich past.


Figure 1 Meeting at the University of Dar es Salaam in July 2018 (click to enlarge)

Working in parallel with existing activities of the UDSM field school meant that the project was able to benefit from the great wealth of knowledge in the Archaeology and Heritage department at Dar es Salaam. We are all really grateful for the input from colleagues in the department, co ordinated by Conch’s own Elinaza Mjema. We realised how much our network aims were in line with lots of great work already going on in Tanzania and we look forward to continuing conversations into 2019.



Kilwa Great mosque in the background and one of the trucks from the original archaeological campaign in the front.
Figure 2: Kilwa Great mosque in the background and a truck from a previous archaeological campaign in the foreground (Photo S. Wynne-Jones, click to enlarge).


This year, we hope to move the focus of Conch’s activity to Kilwa, on the southern coast of Tanzania. This is a region I know well, as I have worked on various archaeological projects here since 2001. As the setting for the World Heritage site of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, Kilwa region has much to offer for a heritage network like ours. I am really looking forward to talking with colleagues about how we can add our energies to some of the existing great work going on in the region.