Freda Nkirote M’Mbogori

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

British Inst. in Eastern Africa

Grant number

Gr. 9263

Approve Date

April 11, 2016

Project Title

M'Mbogori, Dr. Freda Nikrote, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya - To aid research on 'Revisiting Bantu Migration Narrative: A Contextual Archaeological Approach'

FREDA NKIROTE M’MBOGORI, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, was awarded funding in April 2016 to aid research on ‘Revisiting Bantu Migration Narrative: A Contextual Archaeological Approach.’ This research aimed at offering a higher resolution into Bantu migration narrative by concentrating on one area that is currently inhabited by Bantu speakers. This would be done through conducting surveys, excavations, botanical, faunal, pollen/phytolith and lipid analysis, as well as carbon 14 dating of Iron Age materials from sites around Mbeere area of Mt. Kenya region. The excavated sites, which date to between 600 and 100 years ago, have shallow depths of up to 30cm, and contain later Iron Age materials only. The preliminary results which have been obtained from the analysis of the sites, ironworking tools, potsherds and c14 dates, 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 Mbeere region probably before 600years ago. These propositions will however be tested further by phytolith analysis which will indicate any changes in the paleo environments as a result of human engineering. Based on the available evidence we would therefore suggest that instead of assuming some continuity from c. 2000 years (the proposed period of Bantu migration into the area), we should be looking at multiple site types, multiple practices and group diversities through time. We also suggest that each site in Bantu occupied areas should be treated on a case by case basis rather than assigning them a collective interpretation.