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Grant number like: RZ-50575-06

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University of South Florida, St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5016)
John W. Arthur (Project Director: November 2005 to September 2006)
Kathryn J. Weedman (Project Director: September 2006 to March 2022)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$150,000 (approved)
$149,489 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2006 – 7/31/2009

An Ethnoarchaeological Study of the Gamo Caste System in Southwestern Ethiopia

An ethnoarchaeological and archaeological study of the Gamo caste system, which will include mapping and inventorying different caste households, conducting oral history interviews, and excavating archaeological villages. (36 months)

Caste societies present in Africa and Asia have a profound affect on the marriage relations, status, occupation, settlement patterns, ritual purity, diet, and burial placement. However, there has been little archaeological research, especially in Ethiopia or Africa, which addresses the identification, origin, and development of caste societies. The Gamo of southwestern Ethiopia offer a unique context to study a present-day African society, which has a strict caste system. This three-season ethnoarchaeological and archaeological study of the Gamo caste system will use ethnoarchaeology, archaeology, and oral history to reveal an understanding of the origins and development of a non-western state system, caste.