The Namoratunga of East Africa:
3:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
February 18th and 25th
March 4th and 11th
Bellingham Senior Activity Center
315 Halleck Street
Brief course description: eMail the instructor
The Turkana of northern Kenya believe that stone pillars mark places where ancient dancers were turned to stone. The first Namoratunga visited by archaeologists was described as an astronomical observatory of the ancient Cushites, but others have shown this to be unlikely. This course centers on the first excavation of a Namoratunga on the shore of Lake Turkana at the foot of the Jarigole Hills. This 4,000 year-old site, made by the first keepers of domestic stock in Eastern Africa, reveals the earliest evidence for long-distance trade in Subsaharan Africa and a ceramic tradition of incredible beauty and complexity.
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Excavations at Jarigole
Early Trade in East Africa.
Jarigole Annotated Galleries
The Lokori Namoratunga
The Ella of Dirikoro, Omo, Ethiopia
More links and content will be added in February.
Preliminary Course OutlineAfrica on the Cusp of Civilization
Climatic Change 10,000 to 4,000 years ago
Gatherers/fishers/herders/farmers in the climatic vice
Regional adaptations and population movements
Consequences for Sub-Saharan Africa
Some Archaeological Puzzles in Eastern Africa
Glimpses of early pottery makers
L.S.B. Leakey and the elusive people of the Nderit
Domestic animals: now you see them; now you don't
1,000 BC: where did all these pastoralists come from?
Tour of stone pillar sites: ancient Cushite observatories?
That A-ha! Moment: Introducing the Jarigole Namoratunga Undressing an archaeological site: where to begin?
Observation: both the site and its context
One site or several sites?
Asking questions that you can answer
Multiple working hypotheses
Implications & Planning
Mapping & surface collection
Excavation priorities and techniques
Jarigole revealed ... partially (yes, some mystery abides)
Site - it's situation and structure
Site contents: general character & amounts
Cultural and social implications
How new ideas arise while you are excavating
Adjusting research to address these new issues
Site contents considered in detail
Ornaments: trade and social differentiation
Ground stone tools: what is absent can be revealing
Flaked stone tools: hints, but mysteries abound
Ceramics: A big and complex topic, as you will see
The importance of ceramic analysis
What is a "Ceramic Ware" & what does it mean?
Nderit Ware: It's history and traditional interpretation
Why Jarigole redefines the concept of Nderit Ware
How to make a Jarigole vessel: the potter's choices
The components of Nderit Ware at: "motif clusters"
Classic vessels (stylus band & panel motif clusters)
Soft paste stylus evulsion motif cluster
The burnished ripple motif cluster
The channel and stamped motif cluster
The floating panel motif cluster
How do we know these clusters form a ceramic ware?
What leads to motif clusters in a ceramic ware?
Choice (reduction) analysis in pot making
Choice analysis for ostrich eggshell beads
Why are some clusters absent from other Nderit sites?
What Does Nderit Ware signify?
The Geo-cultural hypothesis
The role of climatic change
Geographic spread of Nderit communities
Development of new wares in isolated Nderit groups
The children of the Nderit
Representational art and objects
Symboling: how you recognize and interpret it
Figurines: large, diverse, oldest in Sub-Saharan Africa
Fertility symbolism: some obvious; most not so
What do ceramic designs mean?
Towards an "Nderit language of ceramic design"
The social significance of burial: what we need to know
Clans or lineages: are these reflected in the ceramics?
The persistence of asymmetry in pastoral design.
Where did the Nderit come from: how do we find them?
Resurrecting Nderit Ware: If you are a potter and would like to have a go at this, I would love to help you out!
©2009 by Charles M. Nelson|
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