The Chongoene Archaeological and Biocultural Heritage Park in Mozambique



Maputo, October 12th, 2021

The Chongoene Archaeological and Biocultural Heritage Park project, in Gaza Province, Mozambique is financed by the “patrimonies” funding initiative of the GERMAN GERDA HENKEL FOUNDATION – STIFTUNG for a period of 24 months. The project is being coordinated by a tripartite Mozambique University initiative linking Eduardo Mondlane University, UniSave and Maputo Pedagogical University, developed in direct response to the need to preserve and conserve Chongoene’s threatened archaeological and ecological resources, considered here as a significant component of Gaza Province’s biocultural heritage. Therefore, it involves the participation of the Gaza Provincial Government, partners, and young career research assistants.

The project is coordinated by Dr. Solange Macamo from Eduardo Mondlane University. Prof. Paul Lane from the University of Cambridge, UK, serves as the project’s international biocultural heritage advisor. The project grew out of the Rising from The Depths (RfTD) Network as implemented in Mozambique and financed by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Global Challenge Research Funds. It was also inspired by the Biocultural Heritage Project: Developing New Heritage Industries programme being implemented between Eduardo Mondlane University and Uppsala University, Sweden, and funded by SIDA. Additionally, the project draws on the experiences and expertise of the National Park Service in the USA, through previous visits by Dr. Macamo to Charleston Park, South Caroline.

Chongoene District Map

The work at Chongoene consists of three conservation and protection phases and a fourth training phase:

1 – The creation of a public use area and delimitation of the site boundaries along with planning for protection zones and interpretive signage;

2 – Construction of a pathway with interpretive panels and signs within the Park and road signage;

3 – Construction of a Heritage and Visitor Centre hosting exhibitions about the Park, and where curios and information materials can be provided for sale and a security cabin, to help to guide visitors and ensure the security of the Park at the same time;

4 – Using the RfTD Network approach, members of the local coastal community will be identified as guides, guards, and gardeners, and receive training in how to undertake routine monitoring of the protected area and recording of any newly exposed archaeological remains and monitoring ecological changes. Ultimately, they will become recognized as community heritage stewards and it is proposed that they should be hired by the Gaza Provincial Government when the latter takes over management of the Park.

Signing of the Cooperation Agreement between the Rector of the EMU, Prof. Dr. Orlando Quilambo, Xai-Xai Town Municipality Mayor, Msc. Emídio Benjamin Xavier and the Chongoene District Administrator, Mr. Artur Manuel Macamo

Rector of the University of Save, Manuel José de Morais

Chongoene and Old Xai-Xai Beach Dunes Shellmiddens

Chongoene and Old Xai-Xai Beach Dunes Shellmiddens

Chongoene and Old Xai-Xai Beach Dunes Shellmiddens

Chongoene and Old Xai-Xai Beach Dunes Shellmiddens

Ecosystem services at Xai-Xai Old Beach

Ecosystem services at Xai-Xai Old Beach

Ecosystem services at Xai-Xai Old Beach

Chongoene and Xai-Xai Old Beach Vegetation

Chongoene and Xai-Xai Old Beach Vegetation

Chongoene Hotel Ruins

Chongoene Hotel Ruins


The EMU Rector being shown the Park area by the Project coordinator

The EMU Rector being shown the Park area by the Project coordinator

The Heritage Visitor Center location area is being shown to the EMU Rector, during the Cooperation Agreement signing ceremony (3rd of September 2021)


The Heritage Visitor Center location area is being shown to the EMU Rector, during the Cooperation Agreement signing ceremony (3rd of September 2021)


Pottery scatter at Chongoene Archaeological site


60 years of Xai-Xai Town celebration ceremony during which the project was informed to the Gaza Government members on October 6th 2021.


Project team scoping the Heritage Visitor Centre implementation area (8th October 2021)

Project team scoping the Heritage Visitor Centre implementation area (8th October 2021)

The usage of the Park area implementation by the local communities on daily basis activities

The usage of the Park area implementation by the local communities on daily basis activities


The 2019 Field School in Chongoene

Workshop “Tanzania’s Marine Heritage: A Climate Adaptation Priority”

An interdisciplinary law/archaeology workshop exploring the negative impact of climate change on Tanzania’s marine cultural heritage

About this event

This interdisciplinary workshop aims to bring together lawyers, archaeologists, environmental experts and policymakers to investigate the extent to which marine cultural heritage (MCH) should be represented as a climate adaptation priority in Tanzania’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP); and, in turn, how this representation could provide greater economic and cultural benefits for citizens by creating the potential to attract support from international funds.

Tanzania’s MCH is in danger of being lost or damaged due to climate change. Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Tanzania has prepared a National Adaptation Programme of Action in which it identifies MCH sites as a short-term adaptation priority, and as important to developing sustainable and climate resilient tourism as they are to the country’s enduring cultural heritage. However greater emphasis could be placed on the role that MCH can play in improving the resilience to climate change of coastal communities through sustainable tourism in this sector.

Tanzania is in the process of preparing its NAP, in which it will identify medium- to long-term comprehensive climate adaptation priorities, and this workshop explores the inclusion of MCH as a specific adaptation priority in this policy document so that, ultimately, financial support can be sought for specific projects from the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism and other sources. Greater funding could not only build local capacity to record and preserve MCH at risk of climate change, but also identify infrastructural and developmental priorities to safeguard significant MCH against climate change-related loss and damage to ensure that it becomes an important area of green economic growth for coastal communities through the development of sustainable tourism initiatives, which bolster the resilience of such communities to the negative effects of climate change.

The workshop seeks to address the following questions:

  • Should there be a greater focus on the protection of MCH in Tanzania’s NAP, and if so, what impact could such an inclusion realistically have?
  • What is the feasibility and viability of including a greater focus on MCH in Tanzania’s NAP?
  • If MCH becomes a greater focus in Tanzania’s NAP, what should this look like?
  • If feasible and viable, could a similar approach be adopted in the NAPs of other East African coastal countries?

Workshop Overview

Panel 1: Tanzania’s Marine Cultural Heritage

Panel 2: Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in Tanzania

Panel 3: Marine Cultural Heritage and Climate Change: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities

(4) Roundtable Discussion

Speakers include archaeology, heritage and climate policy experts from the University of Dar es Salaam and Sokoine University, GiZ, the National Museum of Tanzania and the Government of Tanzania.


The workshop takes place on 3 August 2021. You can register HERE to attend this event.

Read more about the Rising from the Depths Network project “Incorporating Marine Cultural Heritage Protection into Tanzania’s National Adaptation Plan”.

Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage (WITH): Coastal Style in Mozambique

June 2021

The WITH Coastal Style project, supported by the Rising from the Depths (RftD) Network is researching the role of material heritage amongst women in coastal Katembe district, across the bay from the Mozambican capital city, Maputo. The project focuses on understanding and highlighting the complex relationship between tradition and change in the lives of women in Katembe through the capulana, a cloth worn by women throughout Mozambique. Through discussion about capulana, the project provides a forum for women to discuss wider issues relating to their lives at a time of major infrastructural development around Maputo.

In March 2020 flights were booked, visa applications processed, accommodation arranged. The plan was for the National Museums Scotland (NMS) team (Sarah Worden and John Giblin) to join the team in Maputo (Co-Investigator Valda Marcos, Post Graduate Researchers Emilia Machaieie and Claudio Mondlate, and photographer Yassmin Fortes) for the installation of a temporary exhibition at the Fortress Museum in Maputo, a milestone in the delivery of the project. Just days away from travel the pandemic hit our project plans and everything was put on hold. Challenging as this was, we are delighted to report that on 28th May 2021, over thirteen months later than originally planned the exhibition opened. Sadly the NMS team were still unable to travel to be part of the installation and opening event. As curator of the host venue, Co-Investigator Moises Timba co-ordinated the content, installation and opening of the exhibition with the rest of the Mozambican team.

Invitation to the WITH Coastal Style Exhibition opening event

The Exhibition

The exhibition takes as its focus a group of women from Katembe, a coastal fishing community on the South Western side of Maputo Bay who participated in the project research. Proposed urbanization of the Katembe area following the construction of the Maputo-Katembe Bridge in 2019 is likely to impact on the material practices and living traditions of the residents of the small fishing communities in the area. Life by and on the sea, catching, selling and eating fish, is a source of community solidarity that spans generations in Katembe. Through a series of powerful photographs taken among the mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends of Katembe the visitor is introduced to the project, the women, their coastal environment and the role of the cotton printed capulana in their lives as an expression of identity and cultural heritage.

The bi-lingual text panels (Portuguese and English) outlining the research emphasise the collaborative nature of this international project. A personal quote from one of the research participants relating to the significance of the capulana introduces each section panel.

‘I use capulana because I am a Mozambican woman!’

Dona Zena, 22 years, Mahlampfane, Katembe, November 2019

‘Every woman always has to wear a capulana … capulana can be useful in various situations … be it menstruation, pregnancy, carry a baby, go to the market, go to the hospital, in case of accident … ‘

Dona Cristina, 54 years, Guachene, Katembe, November 2019

Collected during the research interviews, these responses are incisive and thought-provoking and, with the images, have been selected to generate discussion and debate concerning the role of material heritage in connecting communities.

The exhibition is ready for visitors in the gallery space of the Fortress Museum

Opening Event

Covid restrictions limited the number of invited guests at the opening event, but a range of institutions were represented, including: Eduardo Mondlane University, Director of Culture, Faculty of Art and Social Sciences, CECOMA (Communication centre of UEM), Ministry of Culture and Tourism (National Director of Heritage), UNESCO, Fisheries Museum (Project partner), and ISARC (Higher Institute of Art & Culture, Mozambique). Among the other guests were university assistants and artists based in Maputo. A welcome speech, including a message from Sarah Worden (NMS), was delivered by RftD Network Co-ordinator for Mozambique, Solange Macamo, Lecturer of Archaeology and Heritage Management in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology (UEM).

One of the exhibition gallery spaces at the Fortress Museum

Following the opening speeches refreshments were served and a lively performance by Sekerekane, a local female dance group. The sound for the event was organized by Julio, a DJ from the School of Communication and Art (ECA) /UEM).

Exhibition opening speeches in the grounds of the Fortress Museum

A group of women from the project research group also attended the opening, with transport from Katembe organised by the Fisheries Museum. Project team members Emilia and Claudio were on hand to guide the group through the exhibition in which the women are the ‘stars’, and to record their re-actions to the displays to include in the research. Wearing their matching capulana, the design selected by the group in November 2019, as a thank-you gift to the women for their participation in the project, their presence made a powerful visual statement of the role of the capulana in group identity.

The opening event included entertainment by Sekerekane dance troupe

Project team members Moises, Claudio and Emilia with representatives of the Katembe research group

Invited guests view the exhibition displays

Emilia introduces members of the Katembe research group to the exhibition

Members of the Katembe research group, wearing matching capulanas, are among the first to visit the displays

Members of the team have participated in a number of broadcasting events to talk about the project and the exhibition including national Radio station SFM and CECOMA, a centre of communication of UEM who also interviewed others in the project team. Moises Timba also made an appearance on the popular TVM Bom Dia Mocambique programme to talk about the exhibition. Media interest has also included interviews with Yassmin by Mazanga for Radio Mozambique and for Flash radio programme.

We look forward to further project outcomes including the preparation and opening of an itinerant, touring, exhibition in Katembe where the research took place organised by the Fisheries Museum in Maputo, taking the project in a different format to schools and local communities later in the year. You can see more details of the project in the link  Rising from the Depths » Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style)




Rising from the Depths brings MCH local challenges and research to the UNESCO capacity-building workshop for Africa

During the last three weeks, the Rising from the Depths Network has cooperated with UNESCO Nairobi Regional Office and the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for the Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH) in the organization of the Online Training on Underwater Cultural Heritage Protection and Management for African countries. This workshop, which has been kindly supported by the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust, has introduced participants with the basic theoretical knowledge to understand the tangible and intangible aspects of marine cultural heritage, its connections with communities, and its importance to harness sustainable social, economic, and ecological development. Furthermore, the workshop has widely presented the different tools and approaches to underwater archaeological research and integrated cultural heritage management within the framework of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Dr John Cooper presents the results of the innovation project “Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu (Our Ocean, Our Heritage)” in the framework of the UNESCO Online Training on the Research and Management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage for Africa

Rabekoto Andrinjarisoa Heritiana participates at the UNESCO Online training workshop presenting the innovation project “Study and Implementation of Network System by Fishers’ Community Actor for The Marine Cultural Heritage Survival”

Several innovation projects within the Rising from the Depths Network illustrated, with vivid case studies from the region, the different challenges and potentials of marine cultural heritage research, enhancement, and preservation. The key relation between nature and culture, and its wider connection to society and governance shown through these cases demonstrate the need for synergies, and integrated, inclusive, participatory, and interdisciplinary management approaches. The presentations from the RftD projects included in the UNESCO were recorded and are accessible here below:

Group Picture of some of the participants and trainers of the UNESCO workshop on research and management of the underwater cultural heritage for Africa