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The Elmenteitan: An Early Food-Producing Culture in East Africa

Peter Robertshaw
World Archaeology
Vol. 20, No. 1, Archaeology in Africa (Jun., 1988), pp. 57-69
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/124525
Page Count: 13
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The Elmenteitan: An Early Food-Producing Culture in East Africa
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Abstract

The paper reports on recent research on the Elmenteitan, a Stone-Age food-producing culture first identified by Louis Leakey in the central Rift Valley of Kenya. The Elmenteitan exhibits considerable technological and typological variation between stone artefact assemblages which may be correlated with the cost of obtaining the preferred raw material -- obsidian -- from sources in the Rift Valley. Survey results indicate the location of settlements in relation to environmental variables. There is a possible bimodal or trimodal distribution of settlement sizes. Sites comprise one or more refuse middens, sometimes associated with a central livestock enclosure. Faunal remains confirm the importance of herding, particularly of cattle. Wild game constitute a significant proportion of the assemblage at only one site, located in a tsetse-infested region. There is also some evidence of agriculture. Dates for the Elmenteitan span perhaps more than two thousand years.

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