Comparative Study of Archaeological Assemblages in Two Lake Basins in Kenya during the Later Stone Age Period
Munene, James Koome
MetadataShow full item record
Researchers working on the Later Stone Age period have studied individual sites on their own making little effort in comparing the archaeological collection from two or more sites. Where this has been done, they have compared collections of different ages in sites separated from each other by a few meters. This study looks compares archeological collections excavated in two different sites, one FxJj12 located in Lake Turkana Basin and the other GxJi 4 located in Lake Magadi Basin. The two sites are approximately 650 km apart and date 10,000 BP. The aim of the study were to reconstruct the cultural sequence of LSA in Kenya using Lake Turkana and Lake Magadi findings, investigate the differences and similarities on the lithic tool and raw material use, investigate the differences in fauna record to establish what wildlife were exploited for food by the site occupants and lastly, examine the differences and similarities in the ecology of the two sites. Cultural ecology theory and behavioral ecology theoretical frameworks were used for this study. The archaeological assemblages from the two sites were analyzed at the National Museums of Kenya. Data gained from this analysis was compared across the two sites and used to draw inferences on the behavior of site occupants. Lithic materials were categorized into three major classes of Shaped tools Debitage and “Other pieces”. The length, width, thickness and weight of all the pieces were taken and entered on excel sheets. Means of these metric measurements was calculated and used for comparison. All this information was presented on tables and charts. The results indicate that these two sites were manufacturing and occupational sites located close to river channels for water and perhaps easy hunting access. They utilized raw material such as chert and basalt, fine grained materials, although they were not as locally available as other raw materials such as quartz and obsidian. Some of these raw materials must have been traded over long distances. GxJi 4 site occupants curated their cores and used them for a long period till they were small and difficult to handle. Bead working was also practiced in the two sites with those from GxJi 4 making ostrich eggshell beads while those at FxJj 12 utilizing small polished bones. Hunting and fishing was highly practiced at FxJj 12 while only hunting is evident at GxJi 4. In the two sites, there was a higher interest in the use of the less amorphous chert and obsidian in relation to basalt. Overall study makes a comparison of the technology of two human groups of the late Pleistocene and early Holocene living in these localities during the period. Since this study looks at two study sites in each of the two regions, it recommends that future work should be directed into a larger site sample to get a more representative data for comparison. More precise methods of reconstructing past climate and ecology should also be used. More efforts should however be directed to comparative studies of LSA in Africa and beyond.