DR. FREDA N. M'MBOGORI, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, received funding in April 2016 to aid research on 'Revisiting Bantu Migratipn Narrative: A Contextual Archaeological Approach.' This research, commenced in June 2016, aimed at offering a higher resolution into Bantu migration narrative by concentrating on one area currently inhabited by Bantu speakers. This was done by conducting surveys, excavations, botanical, faunal, pollen/phytolith and lipid analyses, as well as carbon 14 dating of Iron Age materials from sites around the Mbeere area of Mt. Kenya region. The excavated sites, which date between 600 and 100 years ago, have shallow depths of up to 30cm, and contain later Iron Age materials only. The preliminary results (obtained from the analysis of the sites, ironworking tools, potsherds and C14 dating) show great variability in the cultures of the Later Iron Age populations that used them. This material culture diversity and the shallowness of the sites indicate lack of temporal and spatial population continuity, and suggest absence of human inhabitants in the Mbeere region before 600 years ago. These propositions will be tested further by phytolith analysis, which will indicate changes in the paleo environments as a result of human engineering. Based on the available evidence, the study suggests that instead of assuming some continuity from c. 2000 years (the proposed period of Bantu migration into the area), researchers should be looking at multiple site types, multiple practices and group diversities through time. The study also suggests that each site in Bantu-occupied areas should be treated on a case-by-case basis rather than assigning them a collective interpretation. A paper presenting the evidence and further deductions is in preparation.
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Brisith Inst. in Eastern Africa
M'Mbogori, Dr. Freda Nikrote, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya - To aid research on 'Revisiting Bantu Migration Narrative: A Contextual Archaeological Approach'