Posted by: Matthew Davies | December 12, 2013

From the first field workshop

On the 6th of December 2013 twelve of us from the UK, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa gathered in Nairobi to begin the long journey to Marakwet in northwest Kenya. We traveled via Lake Baringo in Kenya’s Rift Valley and were fortunate enough to take a trip out onto the lake where we saw some fabulous wildlife, including crocodiles, hippo and fish eagles. We arrived in Marakwet on the 7th and have since been practically exploring a range of topics alongside the local Marakwet research team and local farmers. We have particularly focused on pre-colonial irrigation engineering and social management, field systems and crop cycles, soils and vegetation, crop varieties, sedimentation, material culture and the archaeology of settlements and landscape. We have already been able to obtain sediment and botanical samples for further analysis and we are exceeding our initial expectations. Gaining practical experience of the complexities of an African farming system alongside current farmers has been an eye opening experience for many of us with a more archaeological perspective! Discussions within the group have so far been extensive and wide ranging and a number of future sub-projects are already under development. We have also discussed at length the intersections between Marakwet and the other partnership projects in Nigeria and South Africa. As the second week of the field workshop progresses we expect to develop more concrete plans for the partnership in 2014 and 2015.

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