Mafia ruins could date back to Roman empire

Could these be the ruins of the ancient city Rhapta? Archaeologist Felix Chami says it's possible, but says 'I'd need to see it with my own eyes.'

Could these be the ruins of the ancient city Rhapta? Archaeologist Felix Chami says it’s possible, but says ‘I’d need to see it with my own eyes.’

An archaeologist says it wouldn’t surprise him if the mysterious ruins spotted by a diver dated back to the time of the Roman empire — and might even be the ancient city of Rhapta.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if it is a Roman structure, but I’d need to see it with my own eyes,” says Felix Chami, an archaeologist at the University of Dar es Salaam.

The diver who explored the ruins, Alan Sutton, says he believes the 3.7 kilometre long jumble of rubble could be that of the ancient trading city of Rhapta.

“Rhapta was in this area without a doubt,” says Chami, who has been searching for Rhapta for over a dozen years.

Evidence of Roman-era activity in the area has already been found both in the Rufiji delta and on Mafia island.

If true, Chami says it would provide evidence that Swahili civilization could be traced back to the iron age.

Read more: Ancient sunken city found off Mafia? 

 

 

 

Report a typo: highlight the text in question and press Ctrl+Enter to report.

About the Author

Daniel Hayduk

Daniel is Dar Post’s news director. When not in the newsroom, he spends his days helping NGOs across the continent find their creative side.