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Journal Article

The lithic assemblage from Sugenya, a Pastoral Neolithic site of the Elmenteitan tradition in southwestern Kenya


Goldstein,  Steven T.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Goldstein, S. T. (2019). The lithic assemblage from Sugenya, a Pastoral Neolithic site of the Elmenteitan tradition in southwestern Kenya. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 54(1), 4-32. doi:10.1080/0067270X.2018.1540216.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-D327-2
The spread of mobile pastoralism throughout eastern Africa in the mid- to late Holocene fundamentally reshaped social and economic strategies and occurred against the backdrop of major climatic and demographic change. Early stone-tool-using herders in these regions faced new and unpredictable environments. Lithic technological strategies from this ‘Pastoral Neolithic’ (PN) period (c. 5000–1400 BP) reflect the social and conomic solutions to the novel environmental challenges faced by food-producing communities. In southern Kenya, the ‘Elmenteitan’ technological tradition appears during the PN in association with a specialised herding economy and distinct ceramic styles and settlement patterns. The Elmenteitan is known mostly from ockshelter sites in the Central Rift Valley and few open-air Elmenteitan sites have been extensively excavated. Fewer still have benefitted from
comprehensive lithic analyses. This paper presents typological and technological analyses of the Elmenteitan site of Sugenya located in the Lemek Valley of southwestern Kenya and excavated by Alison Simons in 2002. Technological patterns add resolution to Elmenteitan tool-use and production in the region and contribute new insights to the organisation of Elmenteitan obsidian exchange networks.