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Herman Muwonge
PhD student
Darwin College
Dept. of Archaeology & Anthropology
University of Cambridge




Project Supervisor Funding

Reconstructing the Late Pleistocene prehistory of the Albertine Rift Valley, Uganda

Marta Mirazon Lahr

In-Africa Project

The Albertine Rift forms the Western arm of the East African Rift System covering parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The East African Rift System is living evidence to help scientists understand continental break up and covers a stretch of more than 5000 km from the Gulf of Aden to Mozambique (Cohen et al, 1993). Archaeological research in the main branch, Eastern Rift Valley that bisects Kenya almost north to south on a line west of Nairobi has advanced prehistorians’ understanding of ancient African past and human evolution in general. Palaeontological and archaeological data from sites in the rift valley segments of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia have provided scientists with broad knowledge concerning ancient human behaviour and their evolution in Africa about 200.000 years ago before dispersing to other parts of the world (McBreaty and Brooks, 2000). Research from the Congolese sector at Ishango and Katanda in the Semiliki Valley exhibit the potential of the Albertine Rift for archaeological research, however the Ugandan side has not been explored.  My project aims at exploring what the Albertine Rift in Uganda can contribute to the general prehistory of East Africa to create a regional balance and address questions pertaining regional variation of prehistoric human behaviours in the western and eastern branches of the East African Rift system. My project focuses on residues and use wear analyses which are now accepted internationally and have been embraced by prehistorians as analytical approaches to understanding later prehistoric human behaviour (Fullagher, 2006, Lombard, 2007). A comparison of residues and use wear traces on LSA artefacts from selected sites in the Albertine Rift and West Turkana will significantly inform our understanding of Late Pleistocene human behaviour in East Africa.




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