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Medieval Trade Center of Eastern Africa
On a small island off the coast of Tanzania lies the site of Kilwa Kisiwani, also called Kilwa (and spelled in Portuguese Quiloa), the most important of about thirty-five trading sites on the Indian Ocean during the 11th through 16th centuries AD. Archaeological investigations at the site began in earnest in 1955, and the site and its sister port Songo Mnara were named

Kilwa History
The earliest substantial occupation at Kilwa Kisiwani dates to AD 800, and the city became a major trade center from the 1100s to the early 1500s. The site was important during the Shiraz dynasty of the 11th and 12th centuries AD, and under the rule of Ali al-Hasan, a Great Mosque was built, and trade connections to southern Africa and the near and far east were established
Archaeological Studies at Kilwa
Archaeologists became interested in Kilwa because of two 16th century histories about the site, including the now-lost Kilwa Chronicle (although remnants of this document do still exist). Excavators in the 1950s included James Kirk man and Neville Chit tick, from the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Scholars believe the Kilwa society developed into the later Swahili societies