Kenya Archaeology

Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site

This is a small settlement, first investigated by the Leakeys in 0 and work has been going on there periodically ever since. The excavations have found evidence of settlements from 3000 years ago, and there are signs of habitation here up until 300 years ago. Up to the top of Hyrax Hill are the remains of the stone walled fort and on the other side of the hill it is possible to see the two huts in the settlement which have been dated back to the Iron Age.

A series of burial pits with 19 skeletons were found, most of them were decapitated, dating back to the same time. Underneath the Iron Age site, a neolithic site was found. It has produced some very interesting things including nine female skeletons which were buried with grave goods. The site is open each day between 0930 and 1800, and there's a small entrance fee. A campsite is also available.

Koobi Fora

The Rift Valley is thought to be where human life evolved. Koobi Fora is found near Lake Turkana and has produced fossil remains of hominids that date back more than three million years, and dozens of sites in the region are rich in Stone Age tools. The most notable discovery being a two million year old Homo habilis skull unearthed by Richard Leakey. The best places to see early homid skulls are the national museums in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Olorgasailie Prehistoric

Found in the western part of the Rift valley. Half a million years ago, Olorgasailie overlooked a large shallow lake, the home of giant species of elephants and hippos, and also to roving bands of hunter-gatherers,Homo erectus. Along a short guided tour through the gorge, there are masses of tools to be seen. You can also see the fossilised leg bone of a giant pachyderm dwarfing the equivalent bone of the African elephant placed alongside it.

This place offers more than a glimpse into human history. It's a wonderfully scenic spot lying adjacent to an extinct volcano and offering commanding views across the bed of the dead lake to the Rift valley wall.

Kariandusi Prehistoric Site

Kariandusi Prehistorical site is to the right of the Naivasha / Nakuru road. There is a small museum, but the last excavations were carried out in the 0's. The nearby diatomite mine offers a another fascinating visit. An adventurous way back to Nairobi from Naivasha, which necessitates a very early start, and probably a night in Thika would be to walk (or cycle) and hitch along the Southern edges of the Aberdare Mountains range. It is wild and noisy with bird and animal sounds in the forest.

Discovery of the Second Genus of Early Man

Scientists believed that present-day homo sapiens had a single common ancestor -- Australopithecus afarensis, identified in 1974 with the discovery of the skeleton ``Lucy'' in Ethiopia. But a team of paleontologists led by mother and daughter Meave and Louise Leakey; say the hominid they found, dubbed Kenyanthropus platyops, is totally different from Australopithecus.

The fossils of more than 30 individuals were found in 1998 and 1999. The most crucial was a skull found by research assistant Justus Erus near the Lomekwi River in northern Kenya. Kenyanthropus has a much flatter face than Lucy as well as particularly small molar teeth, leading scientists to believe it fed on a mixture of fruit, berries, grubs and small mammals and birds.

After two years of exhaustive testing on the skull, enough evidence has been accumulated to declare not only the discovery of a new species but a new genus as well, which walked the earth 3.6 million years ago.

Last Updated on Sunday 22nd November 2009