A recent archival research project in the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) identified artifacts and human remains associated with the 1980 excavation of stone cairns and habitation areas on the west side of Lake Turkana. The presence of stone grave cairns across eastern Africa is common, but their cultural origins and construction times are enigmatic. This article presents the results of the archival project and contextualizes both the artifacts found and the unpublished research notes within the framework of evolving settlement patterns in eastern Africa during the middle to late Holocene. Despite the presence of numerous decorative features on ceramics and the recovery of many complete lithic tools, the material culture is generally non-diagnostic within existing typo-technological categories. The research indicates that there was tremendous diversity in the material culture of the Turkana Basin during the late Holocene.
This paper presents and contextualizes two radiocarbon dates directly obtained from Kansyore and Savanna Pastoral Neolithic (Narosura) ceramic sherds from sites near Lake Eyasi in Tanzania. The dates improve upon those obtained during prior research, which were compromised by problematic samples and stratigraphic disturbance. This underscores the importance of direct dating on diagnostic ceramics in areas with poor site integrity. The Eyasi Basin, often thought to mark a “southern frontier” for stone-using herders, is placed in a broader regional context in terms of material correlates of the spread of food production.