Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationWisconsin, La Crosse, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9642
Approve DateApril 16, 2018
Project TitleGrillo, Dr. Katherine M., U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'Rangelands and Resilience: Archaeology and Paleoecology at an Early Pastoralist Site in Tanzania'
KATHERINE M. GRILLO, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, was awarded funding in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Rangelands and Resilience: Archaeology and Paleoecology at an Early Pastoralist Site in Tanzania.’ This project examines the intersection between environmental shifts and initial pastoralist occupation at the largest and southernmost Pastoral Neolithic settlement in Africa: the recently discovered site of Luxmanda, north-central Tanzania, dating to c. 3000 years ago. New archaeological excavations took place at Luxmanda in July 2018. Researchers can now assess Luxmanda’s environmental context, its site formation history, and the mobility and social strategies employed by its pastoralist occupants. The study also discovered two previously unknown circular features composed of dozens of large lower grinding stones. These features are unprecedented at Pastoral Neolithic sites in eastern Africa. This work reveals a much more complex site structure than initially recognized, suggesting that the site was not occupied as an ephemeral campsite by a highly mobile group, but rather represents either relatively permanent occupation or repeated occupation over a substantial period of time, perhaps by a sizable group of people. Numerous research questions remain, particularly in terms of Luxmanda’s relationship to its surrounding landscape, and in terms of how ancient pastoralist social networks stretched across Kenya, Tanzania, and beyond.