Architects of the Engaruka Techno-Cultural Complex: Testing the Sonjo Connection

In: Utafiti
Penina E. Kadalida Assistant Lecturer, Department of History, Political Science and Development Studies, Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE) Dar es Salaam Tanzania

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Engaruka is an archaeological site that became known to the world of scientific researchers for the first time in 1883. Since then the site has been the subject of many research undertakings varying in purpose and intensity. Most of the published literature about Engaruka has focused on its economy, technology, population, probable reasons for its success and demise, as well as speculations about its first settlers. Several different ethnic groups have been proposed as Engaruka’s architects: the Iraqw, Tatoga, Maasai, and the Sonjo. Despite the impressive scope of collected evidence, the original occupants of Engaruka have yet to be determined conclusively. The analysis of available evidence assembled here supports the hypothesis that the Sonjo people were the creators of Engaruka, by virtue of these indicators: (i) terrace patterns, (ii) pottery technologies, (iii) stone structures, (iv) fire places, and (v) contemporary ethnography.

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