A contribution to the study of subsistence patterns of elmenteitan populations with reference to animal bones from Gogo falls in Sourh Nyanza District, Kenya
This study presents a detailed analysis of the faunal remains from the Elmenteitan horizon at the Gogo Falls archaelogical site in South Nyanza, western Kenya. From this the ecology and subsistence patte ~s of the people who occupied the site in the second millennium B.P. ire reconstructed. The species represented within the faunal assemblage are quantified by the number of identified specimens and minimum numbers of individuals methods while their relative dietary contribution is estimated by a modified version of the meat weights method. This reveals that there were three main economic activities in the study area. These were herding, hunting and fishing. Relative age spectra established on the basis of tooth eruption and replacement, tooth wear, and epiphyseal fusion indicate that the people in question preferred adult animals to young ones. Consequently, it is argued that hunting involved use of spears and arrows and not snares or pi-traps lest the fauna would have been more representative of all ages. It is also argued that domestic stock were kept mainly for milk and possibly blood otherwise neonates and juveniles would have been fairly well represented in the assemblage. Body part representation and evidence of bone modification by humans and animals indicate that man was the main agent of depositing bone on the site. Body part representation and bone modification by humans also indicate that different taxa we re processed basically in the same way once killed, except that there was a tendency to carry to the site selected parts from the large ungulates. Finally, it ishypothesised that the subsistence patterns at Gogo Falls differed from those documented on other Elmenteitan sites because the ecological condition of the site radically differs from that of other known Elmenteitan occurrences;and that ethnoarchaeological modeI of contemporary pastoralist treatment of fauna will provide means for reconstructing past subsistence patterns if used cautiously and judiciously.