Landscapes of Slavery in Africa

Document Type


Publication Date



Slavery was a large-scale process that put its mark on the African landscape in tangible ways―for example, through the capture, transfer, and imprisonment of captives and through the avoidance strategies that vulnerable communities used against slaving. Certainly, the expansion of trade routes, the depopulation of slaved regions, and an increased reliance on defensive architecture and places of concealment can all be linked to slaving and slavery in Africa. But how do we view these landscapes of slavery today? And can archaeology help us?

Encompassing studies from Senegal, Ghana, Mauritius, Tanzania, and Kenya, this volume grapples with such essential questions. The authors advocate for the power of archaeology as a tool to disentangle often lengthy and complex landscape histories that both begin before slavery and continue after abolition. They also argue for archaeologists’ central role in reimagining how we might remember and commemorate slavery in places where its history has been forgotten, obscured by European colonialism, or sanitized and simplified for tourist consumption.

The chapters in this book were originally published in a special issue of the Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage.