Massive 5,000-Year-Old Cemetery Found in Kenya

Researchers made an astonishing discovery in northern Kenya this week when they unearthed the remains of an ancient cemetery. Here’s what we know so far:

Where Was the Cemetery Discovered?

The cemetery was discovered in an area close to Lake Turkana in Kenya, East Africa. A team of international researchers from the Stony Brook University of New York unearthed the cemetery at the Lothagam North Pillar site. This cemetery is currently the oldest monument in Eastern Africa.

Who Built the Cemetery?

Experts are stating that a group of nomadic pastoralists without a social hierarchy built the cemetery some 4,300 and 5,000 years ago. The early herders built a structure that has a hole in the middle with a diameter of 98 feet that was used for burial. Within the hole, at least 580 people from all age groups were buried. On top of the bodies, the group added things like stones, cairns, and megalith columns. The fact that there was no form of special treatment for anyone and that everyone was buried with their adornments equally distributed points towards an unstructured society.

Why is This Discovery So Important?

This finding throws all the previous conclusions of researchers into doubt. This is because experts previously believed that a community without a social structure would not have been able to come up with such a monument. For a community to do something like this, there had to be some sort of settlement. Potentially, this cemetery may change the global perspectives on the past. Preliminary theories state that it is possible these communities came together to bury their dead in one place as a means of consoling one another, which tells us researchers something interesting about the social structure of ancient societies.

More in World