Back to the Grindstone?

African Archaeological Review

The Archaeological Potential of Grinding-Stone Studies in Africa with Reference to Contemporary Grinding Practices in Marakwet, Northwest Kenya

Published: Friday 1 September, 2017



The Archaeological Potential of Grinding-Stone Studies in Africa with Reference to Contemporary Grinding Practices in Marakwet, Northwest Kenya

This article presents observations on grinding-stone implements and their uses in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, northwest Kenya. Tool use in Marakwet is contextualized with a select overview of literature on grinding-stones in Africa. Grinding-stones in Marakwet are incorporated not only into quotidian but also into more performative and ritual aspects of life. These tools have distinct local traditions laden with social as well as functional importance. It is argued that regionally and temporally specific studies of grinding-stone tool assemblages can be informative on the processing of various substances. Despite being common occurrences, grinding-stone tools are an under-discussed component of many African archaeological assemblages. Yet the significance of grinding-stones must be reevaluated, as they hold the potential to inform on landscapes of past food and material processing.

Shoemaker, A. C., Davies, M. I. J., & Moore, H. L. (2017). Back to the Grindstone? The Archaeological Potential of Grinding-Stone Studies in Africa with Reference to Contemporary Grinding Practices in Marakwet, Northwest Kenya. African Archaeological Review.

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