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China and Kenya are joining hands in an archaeological excavation project. The excavation work held around the Kenyan town of Malindi, is aimed at revealing the prosperity of ancient Malindi, a port city which thrived in the 15th century and witnessed the earliest trade between Asia and Africa.
The joint project was agreed upon by China and Kenya in 2005 and involves the excavation of archaeological ruins in the Lamu Islands in northeast Kenya. The first phase of the project was carried out in 2010, while this phase began in late July this year and will last for two and a half months.
The current excavation is mainly in three places, Mumbrui village near the town of Malindi, the Khatibu Mosque, and the old part of town in Malindi. The whole excavation area measures up to 1600 square meters.
Qin Dashu, professor of Deputy of Archaeology, Peking University, says, "China boasts the earliest record of the ancient Malindi. An Arabian person also wrote about it in his travel notes, saying the ancient town was located near a river. He was referring to the Sabaki River. The village Mumbrui is near the Sabaki River, and the town Malindi is actually far away from it. So we think perhaps Mumbrui is the earliest inhabitated area of ancient Malindi."
The archeologists are working at six excavation spots in Mumbrui village and the town Malindi. They hope to reveal the history of ancient Malindi through the excavations. Archeologists have found a lot of blue and white porcelain at the sites. The porcelain, dating back to the Ming dynasty, proves Malindi was an important trading port before Portuguese explorers arrived there at the end of the 15th century.
There are also thirty pieces of pottery discovered in the sites. Archeologists from both sides have begun to clean up, restore and research the relics. In the progress of the excavation, more mysteries of ancient Malindi are expected to be revealed.
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