Shihrazad’s Baths: 1001 tales of Zanzibar Nights

  • Laura Basell (Speaker)
  • Mark Horton (Contributor)
  • Abdallah Ali Khamis (Contributor)
  • Nicholas Mellor (Contributor)
  • Ella Egberts (Contributor)
  • Behnam Firoozi Nejad (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Authors: Basell, L.S., Ali, A., Firoozi-Nejad, B., Egberts, E., Mellor, N. and Horton, M.

Abstract: This paper presents the first archaeological survey of the ornate Kidichi baths on Zanzibar. The baths were built for or by Shihrazad, a wife of Zanzibar’s nineteenth century ruler Said bin Sultan (1806–1856). Laser scanning the ornate plaster stucco was used to clarify two inscriptions, the precise meaning of which had been lost. By combining archaeological survey results with historical research, and a translation of the inscriptions, a new narrative is presented in which the main protagonist is, unusually, female. Her captivating story raises a host of questions relating to heritage, gender, religion and politics in modern-day Africa and beyond, whilst our survey raised questions relating to the tensions between materiality and virtual reality, modern and ancient technology.
Period20 Nov 2018
Event titleAfrican Archaeology Research Day 2018
Event typeConference
LocationCambridge, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational