Stone Cairns and Material Culture of the Middle to Late Holocene, Lake Turkana

In: Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University
  • 2 Department of Archaeology, University of York
  • 3 Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • 4 Department of History, University of Zimbabwe

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 This article presents the results of the archival project and contextualizes both the artifacts found and the unpublished research notes within the framework of evolving settlement patterns in eastern Africa during the middle to late Holocene.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.

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