An archaeological study of the Mijikenda Kaya settlements on hinterland Kenya coast
Mutoro, H W
MetadataShow full item record
This study employs a multi-disciplinary approach to shed light on the Mijikenda adaptive behavior patterns while in their now abandoned settlements known as makaya. Toward this end it examines the nature of the site-catchment as well as the Mijikenda environmental perception, land use patterns and how these influenced the spatial location of these settlements on the Kenya Coastal hinterland. While agreeing that their location was to a large extent dictated by security or defense factors, the study also argues that economic factors such as the presence of arable land, adequate rainfall and the possibility of playing a middleman position between the Swahili and interior societies, played an important role in determining where to locate these settlements. The study also looks at the present Mijikenda adaptive behavior patterns based on their material and non material culture and predicts the nature of archaeological record to expect in the abandoned sites. Through intensive surface collection of ten of these sites and an archaeological excavation of four sites: kava Singwaya, Mudzi Mwiru, mbomu and kaya Digo, non-perishable local and exotic material and non material culture are found and interpreted as evidence to corroborate written and oral sources about the Mijikenda as mixed farmers, forest collectors and gatherers, and active participants in the thriving local and long distance trade that characterized the region up to the nineteenth century.