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5,000-Year-Old Cemetery Excavated in Kenya

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Kenya pastoralist cemeterySTONY BROOK, NEW YORK—According to a report in The Guardian, Elisabeth Hildebrand of Stony Brook University says a 5,000-year-old communal cemetery in northwestern Kenya is evidence that early pastoralists who lived without social hierarchies were able to work together to achieve common goals. At least 580 individuals were buried in a mortuary cavity placed in the center of a platform measuring 90 feet across and marked by pillar-like megaliths at the Lothagam North site. The arrangement of the bodies, Hildebrand said, suggests the men, women, and children were buried without any indication of social ranking, and, she noted, all of them were buried with elaborate personal ornaments. The monument may also have been served as a meeting place to renew ties and exchange information. The burial cavity was eventually filled in and capped with thousands of stones. “We don’t know why or what happened next,” said project co-director Katherine Grillo of the University of Florida. To read about a massacre that occurred near Lake Turkana around 10,000 years ago, go to “The First Casus Belli.”

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