Martin T. Walsh
Archaeological investigations by Chami and colleagues in Tanzania indicate that atleast some of the islands in the Zanzibar and Maﬁa archipelagos were occupied by people with Late Stone Age and Early Iron Age cultural assemblages long before theappearance of Triangular Incised Ware / Tana Tradition pottery in the second half of the ﬁrst millennium AD (Chami 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004; Chami and Wafula 1999).The timing of the latter is consistent with presumed dates for the diversiﬁcation andmovement of Sabaki speakers down the coast, including the linguistic ancestors of what was to become the Bantu-speaking community of the Comoros. Linguistic history and geography imply that the Late Stone Age ﬁshers, foragers and hunters of the coastand nearby islands spoke non-Bantu languages, perhaps related to one or more of theisolates spoken by East African hunter-gatherers in recent times (see Walsh 2006 andreferences therein). There seems little doubt now that Bantu-speaking farmers also settledon nearby islands, some centuries before the southward migration of Sabaki speakers.The linguistic evidence suggests that these Early Iron Age islanders may have spokendifferent East African Bantu languages, not just early dialects of Northeast Coast Bantu,the language group which later spawned Sabaki. Archaeology has yet to provide convincing proof that the Comoros were also settledbefore the middle of the ﬁrst millennium AD, though a growing volume of circumstantialevidence, linguistic and palaeozoological, suggests that this might have been the case. If Blench (in press, also this volume) is right in proposing that Madagascar was ﬁrst settledby African hunter-gatherers, then it is not difﬁcult to envisage similar sea-crossingsto the Comoros, whether direct from Africa or from Madagascar itself. A number of linguists, meanwhile, have argued that the proto-Malagasy themselves probably spenttime on the East African coast and then in the Comoros before they ﬁnally settled onMadagascar (e.g. Adelaar, in press; Simon 1988).
Hunting and the exploitation of island wildlife: a survey
The following survey is based on a combination of different kinds of evidence from a wide variety of sources, among them the zoological, archaeological, linguistic, historicaland ethnographic. As part of this I have compiled mammal lists with scientiﬁc and localnames for six of the islands considered in the survey: Pemba, Unguja, Maﬁa, GrandComore, Anjouan, and Mayotte - a selection determined by the availability of data.These tables (numbered A2-A7) are referred to in the text and can be found in an onlineappendix. The sources that I have used in this survey are uneven in quality, and oftenprovide no more than a fragmentary view of what must be a more complex reality. If nothing else, I hope that this will highlight the many gaps in current knowledge, andsuggest future topics for research.
The Zanzibar Archipelago
The Zanzibar archipelago comprises two large islands, Pemba and Unguja, each of whichis associated with a number of smaller islets. Although Zanzibar is generally treatedas a single geographic unit, the two islands have had quite different geological andecological histories, and so are considered separately below. Research in Zanzibar since