Archeological Remains on Kilimanjaro

Fosbrooke, H.A. and Sassoon, H


Book ID 770

See also

Fosbrooke, H.A. and Sassoon, H Archeological Remains on Kilimanjaro, 1965
Page Number: 062
Extract Date: 960BC

Stone bowls

On the western slopes of the mountain, in the area between Ol Molog and Ngare Nairobi and up to the 7 000 feet contour level, many stone bowls and stone rings have been found by farmers. The bowls and rings are apparently made from local lava, though no petrological tests have been carried out to corroborate this assumption. Unfortunately, it seems that all the finds have been, of single, unrelated obects, and as yet no concentration of these artefacts has been discovered such as would indicate a living site or a burial.

The stone bowls are similar to the deep bowls (type b) reported by the Leakeys from Njoro (Leakey and Leakey, 1950). On pp. 16 and 77 of this publication, there are very, brief reports of a similar site which was excavated in Ngorongoro crater in 1941 and at which stone bowls of Gumban B type were found. It seems probably that the bowls from western Kilimanjaro will eventually prove to belong to the same general culture as Ngorongoro. A carbon-14 date has been published for the Njoro river site : it is approximately 960 B.C. or 2,900 years ago (Cole, 1954, p. 286) but it is probable that the Gumban B culture is much later than this.

Apparently associated with the stone bowls in western Kilimanjaro there are flakes and crude blade tools made from obsidian. On one farm, several large cores of this rock have been found, showing the scars from which flakes have been struck. The Geological Survey are not aware of any outcrops of obsidian on Kilimanjaro, nor in the whole of northern Tanzania. The nearest known outcrop is probably the one in Kenya which is a few miles north-east of Lake Magadi. The nearest major outcrop of obsidian is probably that in the Njorowa Gorge, south of Lake Naivasha. Whichever was the source of the obsidian on Kilimanjaro, it seems that it must have been carried at least 100 miles to the Ngare Nairobi area.

Extract ID: 4561

See also

Fosbrooke, H.A. and Sassoon, H Archeological Remains on Kilimanjaro, 1965
Page Number: 063
Extract Date: 1900

The early Chagga have left their mark

More recently, the early Chagga have left their mark on the landscape. The trenches which were dug between the early kingdoms are difficult to discern but remains of the forts which some chiefs constructed can still be seen at Marangu and Kibosho (see an article H A. Fosbrooke "Chagga Forts and Boltholes," TNR No 37, p116; and also pictures facing pp. 72 and 92 in Sir Charles Dundas' Kilimajaro and its People).

A more interesting but less apparent relic of the days of inter tribal warfare is to be found in the bolt holes or underground shelters. (See Bishop Wynn Jones, "African Dugouts " TNR, No. 11; and article in No. 37 above.)

In the thickly populated and cultivated area of Marangu there are some engraved rocks which are associated with the Chagga initiation ceremonies. One of these rocks, at Longoro, is a large block of lava about 9 feet long, projecting six inches above ground-level; at its.broadest point it is 6 feet 9 inches wide. The rock is covered with long, meandering incised lines, evidently engraved with a pecking technique, and there are also two small kidney-shaped depressions which are clearly man-made. The rock also bears numerous pock-marks which look natural, but which, according to recent oral tradition, are man-made.

Chief Petro Marealle first drew attention to this engraved rock. In his book (1951) he describes how, until about 1900, Chagga youths used to be introduced to the mysteries of manhood. As part of his ceremony twelve youths, selected from the age set under instruction, were taught the meanings of the engravings on the rock and how to incise them. This was done, on completion of the lessons, by the instructor using a `small axe'; the length of the line cut depended on the number of youths in the age-set. The instructor also bored the pock-marks into which the youths had to spit to seal their oath not to reveal the secrets they had been taught.

Within twenty yards of the rock of Longoro, described here, there are two other engraved rocks; and there is another two miles to the north-west of the Longoro group. All these rocks have been described by Fosbrooke and Marealle in their two papers in Man, 1952, 244 and 263.

Extract ID: 4562

See also

Fosbrooke, H.A. and Sassoon, H Archeological Remains on Kilimanjaro, 1965
Page Number: 064
Extract Date: 960BC

Stone Bowl from Ol Molog

Extract ID: 4543