Charles Okeny Kinyera, Uganda’s first homegrown archaeology doctoral student, has found evidence demystifies pioneering researchers’ assumptions on human settlement in northern Uganda.
Kinyera was among the 108 doctoral graduands whose degrees were conferred during the 71st Makerere university graduation that ended on Friday.
Before his study, the general perception of archaeological researchers was that northern Uganda was too dry to be conducive for human habitation.
Kinyera says with these earlier perceptions in mind, he decided to carry out a study to document and characterize the archaeology of Palabek cultural landscapes in the present-day Lamwo District.
Using archeological surveys and excavation, the archaeologist managed to get rich evidence indicating that northern Uganda, Palabek in particular, has continuously had human interaction with the environment since from Later Stone Age period. This is about 4000 years ago.
One of the most important findings is the discovery of stone wall structures in Pamwa, Orom, and Khatungulu villages. Kinyera says that until his discovery, there has not been any evidence of such in historical records.
According to his findings, the said walls present architectural technology which is common in great Zimbabwe, a site that is believed to have served as a royal palace for the local monarch, and Thimlich Ohinga sites in Kisumu, Kenya.
Kinyera says to ascertain the dates of discovered stone wall structures, he sent two samples to Beta Analytic Laboratory located in Florida, US.
Using the radiocarbon dating method, he adds, results showed that the structure where constructed in the 17th century about 1650 AD. The dates correspond with the one of Thimlich Ohinga.
Other than the said stone walls, the archaeologist also discovered over 272 archeological sites in Lamwo and Kitgum districts ranging from the later stone age to pottery and iron age sites.
Kinyera says the new findings are not only changing the perception that many people and archeologists have had on northern Uganda but it is bound open new tourism potentials in the areas.
Dr. Elizabeth Kyazike, an archeologist at Kyambogo university who was Kinyera’s lead supervisor, notes that the discovery is giving a ray of hope to archaeological research in Uganda which has been regionally imbalanced, dominated by foreign researchers, and periodically generalized.
Archaeological researches in Uganda date back from the 1920s till recently. However, most research has been concentrated in the southern part of the country.
Available record notes that most archaeologists, both foreign and local, flock to well-known sites such as Bigo by Mugenyi, Ntusi, Nsongezi, and Kansyore Island among others because of their antiquity was established earlier on.