CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Pastoral Neolithic stoneindustry of early East Africa in a restricted area on the west side of the central Rift Valley in Kenya. Typical artifact assemblages include large double-edged obsidian blades, plain pottery bowls, and shallow stone vessels. Domestic cattle and small stock were herded. The dead were cremated, as at the mass-burialsite at Njoro River Cave (c 1000 BC), one of the earliest Elmenteitan sites. The industry continued into the 1st millennium AD. The name also applies to the Pastoral Neolithic and Iron Age potterytradition associated with the stone artifacts.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A cave in the central Rift Valley of Kenya with a long sequence attributed to the Eburranindustry (formerly known as the Upper Kenya Capsian), followed by Elmenteitan assemblages.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Neolithicsite in southwestern Kenya with stone tools and pottery of the Elmenteitantradition, c 2000 BP. The earliest evidence for humped cattle in eastern Africa was found there as well as obsidian obtained from the Rift Valley, more than 100 km away, used to make tools.
Njoro River Cave
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the earliest well-documented Pastoral Neolithic sites in southern Kenya, of the Elmenteitanindustry and dated to c 12th century BC. It was a cemetery for cremated burials, each interment being accompanied by a stonebowl, mortar, and pestle, as well as by numerous hard stone beads and pendants. A finely decorated wooden vessel and a gourd were also preserved.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pastoral Neolithic of East Africa CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A complex of cultures that appeared in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania about 3500 BC; a general term for the pre-Iron Age food-producing societies of East Africa.. It remains unknown whether they also cultivated plants. The earliest sites are on the plains of northern Kenya and date to the mid-3rd millennium BC. About 1300 years ago, they were absorbed or replaced by iron-using pastoralists and mixed farmers. Disposal of the dead was by burial beneath a stonecairn or between rocks. Stone platters, bowls, and pestles occur on most sites. Settlements show a great range of size, as does the relative importance of herding cattle and small stock in comparison with hunting. Pastoral Neolithic settlement is attested as far to the south as the Serengeti Plain of northern Tanzania. The subdivision of the Pastoral Neolithic in the East African highlands is not clearly defined. Pastoral Neolithic traditions recognized, though not well defined chronologically, are: Elmenteitan, Kansyore, Narosura, Nderit, Njoro River Cave, Oldishi, Olmalenge, and Oltome.