Jarigole Pillar Site (GbJj1) prior to excavation.


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The purpose of this web site is to provide easy access to supplementary information about the Jarigole Pillar Site (GbJj1) situated at the foot of the Jarigole Hills on the east side of Lake Turkana in Kenya.

GbJj1 is a complex burial site created by a Pastoral Neolithic culture about 4,000 years ago. In the world of archaeology, GbJj1 is significant for the following reasons.

1) The Jarigole Pillar Site was created by the first known large wave of pastoralists to move into East Africa from northern Africa via the Sudan or Ethiopian Highlands. This culture eventually spread southward along the Eastern Rift into the Serengeti Plains and played an important role in developing regional pastoral adaptations and, most likely, the transmission of domestic stock southward along the highland spine of Africa.

2) GbJj1 contains evidence of trade over many hundreds of kilometers from the shore of the Indian Ocean, and more locally from the southern Ethiopian Highlands and the margin of the Turkana Basin, demonstrating that East African trading networks operated over very long distances, even in remote antiquity.

3) The ceramics produced by the people of Jarigole are one of the most complex of any from prehistoric sub-Saharan Africa, with a wide range of complex vessel forms; the use of pigmented slips, under-slips, fired and unfired paints, and applied ochre; internal and external decoration; and a wide variety of decorative techniques and motifs in nearly endless recombination. There are also ceramic figurines up to 50 cm. long.

4) There are numerous Ostrich eggshell beads and it has been possible to demonstrate that they have been manufactured using a number of different reduction strategies. This is one of the first instances in which reduction analysis has been successfully applied outside the realm of stone tools.

On this web site, as both searchable html pages and PDFs, you will find:

1) Reprints of published research articles on the Jarigole Pillar Site;

2) A visually-based analysis of the ceramics demonstrating "motif clusters," decorative techniques, and decorative principles;

3) Supplementary pages with annotated photographs of the excavation and artifacts;

4) the site catalog (this will come last as it is a large undertaking);

5) pictures of the satellite site, GbJj4, and the artefacts found there;

It will take some time to provide all of this, but, in the words of that notable Jarigolian, "Don't worry, we're making progress!"