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Antiquities Division



The Division of Antiquities as a Government institution responsible for conservation, preservation, protection and management of cultural heritage resources has the following roles:-

  1. Protecting, preserving and developing of the country’s historical sites, approving of matters related to restoration, rehabilitation, documentation and revitalisation of historical monuments, areas and sites;
  2. Collecting, documenting, conserving and developing Tanzania’s architectural and cultural heritage resources, including traditional architectural heritage;
  3. Co-ordination and undertaking of archaeological research and related activities, issuing permits (licenses) to local and foreign researchers for excavation, collection, export and film production;
  4. Advising the Government on research and conservation issues relating to cultural heritage as stipulated in the Antiquities Act No. 10 of 1964 and its amendment No.22 of 1979.

The legal protection of Tanzania cultural heritage resources is effected through Antiquities Act of 1964 (Act No. 10 0f 1964 Cap 550) which is the principal legislation and the Antiquities (Amendment) Act of 1979 (Act No. 20 of 1979) as well as Rules and Regulations of 1981, 1991, 1995 and 2002.

The 1964 Act repealed the Monument Preservation Ordinance of 1937 and 1949 and enlarged the scope of heritages that need to be conserved. The legislation offers general protection to objects or structures, which are of archaeological, palaentological, historic, architectural, artistic, ethnological or scientific interest.  

Likewise, Division operates by using the Cultural Heritage Policy of 2008; The   1970 UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of Cultural property; The 1972 UNESCO Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage; and, The 1954 UNESCO Convention on the protection of cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.


Tanzania is well endowed with abundant significant cultural heritage resources which range from the Pliocene period about four million years ago to present time. These resources are categorized into seven groups as follows:-

  1. Archaeological or Paleontological sites  such  Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli Footprint, Isimila Stone Age site, Engaruka Ruins;
  1. Historical sites  such as  Kaole Ruins, Kunduchi Ruins, Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins, Songo Mnara Ruins;
  1. Historical towns  such as  Bagamoyo, Kilwa Kivinje, Mikindani;
  1. Traditional Settlements such as  Kalenga in Iringa and Bweranyange in Kagera;
  1. Historic Buildings like Colonial Administrative Buildings (BOMAs) in many Districts in Tanzania;
  1. Sites with special memories like Colonialists Cemetery, Cemeteries of World War I and II  and Defensive Walls;
  1. Natural Features and Structures such as Mbozi Meteorite, Amboni Caves and Kondoa Rock Art Shelters to name only a few.



The Division of Antiquities is a statutory body within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism responsible for conservation, preservation, protection and management of cultural heritage resources in Tanzania. The History of Antiquities Division and of Conservation of cultural heritage in Tanzania dates back to the colonial period in 1937 when the legislation to protect and preserve historical moments; Monuments Preservation Ordinance 1937 was enacted by the Colonial Government. 

The Antiquities Division as it was, then called was first established in 1957 as a Division of the Ministry of Education.  Its office was located at Bagamoyo where there was a plan of establishing a School of Archeology and was intended that the Division would be incorporated into the School of Archaeology once it could be established.  The School, however, was not established and the Division Antiquities offices were late on in 1960 shifted to Dar es Salaam.

In 1962, two important changes in Cultural heritage were introduced.  First, there was an establishment of Ministry to deal with this Cultural Sector which was called the Ministry of National Culture and Youth.  Secondly, King George V Memorial Museum changed to be the National Museum Psysichology   

The legislation to protect and preserve the Antiquities of this country still remained the Monuments Preservation Ordinance of 1937.  Under this Ordnance, the legal power was given to the Colonial Governor in the Councils. However, the ordinance did not clearly explain the types of objects or structures required to be protected though in general it started that such objects, structures, and area should be of historic, archeological and Scientific Significance.  This ordinance remained the only Legislation of Antiquities until 1964 when the Antiquities Act No. 10 of 1964 was passed by the National Assembly.

This act though repealing the 1937 ordinance was an extension of the ordinance embodying the basic principles of the ordinance as well as expanding its scope enabling Legislation on Antiquities to be  more comprehensive and up to up to date. 

The Antiquities Act No. 10 of 1964 was amended in 1979 (by amended Act No. 22 of 1979) This was followed by Subsidiary Legislation on protected Objects Monuments No. 13 of 1981 and by another Subsidiary Legislation on conduct of Excavations and Access to Monument Rules (1991).

4.1. Leadership

Since its establishment, The Division of Antiquities has gone through different leadership and ministries as follows:-

4.1.1. Directors  

1937 – 1968:               Neville Chittick  - Curator

1968 – 1981:                Amin Aza  Mturi - Director

1981 – 1985:               Simon S.A. Waane - Head of Section

1985 – 1997:               Simon S.A. Waane -  Director

1997 – 2000:               Donatius M.K. Kamamba  - Ag. Director

2000 - 2016                Donatius M.K. Kamamba  -  Director  

2016 - 2019                Digna F. Tillya  -  Ag. Director

2019 - 2021                Fabian S. Kigadye - Ag. Director

2021 - To Date          Christowaja L. Ntandu - Ag. Director


4.1.2. Ministries

The department since its establishment has also been shifted from one Ministry to another as follows:-

1957 – 1962:               Ministry of Education;

1962 – 1964:               Ministry of National Culture and Youth;

1964 – 1967:               President’s Office;

1967 – 1968:               Ministry of Regional Administration and Village Developments;

1968 – 1980:               Ministry of National Education;

1980 – 1984:               Ministry of Information and Culture;

1984 – 1985:               Prime Minister’s Office;

1985 – 1988:               Ministry of Community Development, Culture, Youth and


1999 – to Date:           Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.


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