Hunter to herder: large mammal remains from the hunter-gatherer occupation at Enkapune Ya Muto rock-shelter, Central Rift, Kenya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Late Quaternary rock-shelter deposits from the Mau Escarpement in Kenya preserve abundant large mammal remains, particularly in Holocene deposits. Taphonomic analysis indicates that people accumulated the Holocene archaeofauna and that, after discard, ravaging carnivores had little impact on the assemblage. The hunters concentrated on small bovids of the forest throughout the occupation, avoiding the larger more dangerous game that must have been abundant. This pattern differs significantly from that documented over the last 100 years for the Okiek hunter-gatherers of the Mau montane forest. Complete carcasses of small bovids were typically transported to the site, and the introduction of pottery had no apparent effect on carcass transport and butchery. Slightly greater bone destruction is evident at the time of the middle Holocene dry phase, and this may relate to more intense grease rendering. Domestic caprines appeared ca 4000 years ago, about 900 years after pottery, but small wild bovids dominated the economy until about 3000 years ago when the resident hunter-gatherers became specialized caprine herders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-127
Number of pages63
JournalThe African Archaeological Review
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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