Pioneering research in the Holocene archaeology of Lake Turkana contributed significantly to the development of broader issues in the prehistory of Africa, including the aquatic civilization model and the initial spread of domesticated livestock in East Africa. These topics are reviewed following retrospective discussion of the nature of pioneering fieldwork carried out in the area in the 1960s. The early research at Lake Turkana uncovered the oldest pottery in East Africa as well as large numbers of bone harpoons similar to those found along the Nile Valley and elsewhere in Africa. The Lake Turkana area remains one of the major building blocks in the interpretation of the later prehistory of Africa as a whole, just as it is a key area for understanding the early phases of human evolution.

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