An Assessment the Myth for the Existence of Underground Slave Tunnel from Ngome Kongwe to Indian Ocean in Bagamoyo Historic Town

Sasi E. Gibinagwe


This article reports the findings from archaeological surveys and excavations resulting from the archaeological field school undertaken from July to August, 2011 at “Ngome Kongwe” (Old fort) in Bagamoyo. The field school which involved students and staff from the University of Dar es Salaam, intended to investigate whether there is an underground tunnel from Ngome Kongwe (Old Fort) to the Indian Ocean, as has been alleged by oral traditions. In addition to surveys and excavations, the author also consulted indigenous people and used documentary source to demonstrate the correctness or incorrectness of such declaration. Furthermore, in August 2013, geophysical investigation was undertaken using magnetometer and electrical resistance meter intending to achieve the same objective. So far, the findings attest that there was no underground tunnel through which slaves were taken from Ngome Kongwe to the Indian Ocean, before they sailed to Zanzibar slave market. However, the findings demonstrate that, possibly the slave and ivory trade route passed through Ngome Kongwe, on surface transport to the dhows in Indian Ocean which took them to Zanzibar.

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