Interpretation of archaeological sites with predominantly freshwater fish and reptile remains has been impeded by lack of documentation of how humans process such vertebrates, of bone modifications resulting from such handling, and of physical characteristics of sites produced by these activities. We report on 19 contemporary foraging camps on the shore of Lake Turkana, Kenya, with the creation, abandonment, and resulting faunal assemblages of 7 of these more closely described. Variable processing activities created a range of site structures but cross-assemblage regularities in patterns of bone surface modification and element frequencies are perceptible. Most sites were very large, with special-purpose activity areas peripheral to the main residential area. Site structure and size depended mainly on specific subsistence activities carried out and features of the camp locale rather than upon the number of occupants or duration of occupation. Sites can be classified as base camps or as fish production camps, with consistent differences in site structure and bone assemblage characteristics.

Ethnoarchaeology; zooarchaeology; butchery; site formation; fish; reptile; Africa; Lake Turkana
dx.doi.org/10.1006/jaar.1999.0337
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Department of Biology

Gifford-Gonzalez, D. (Diane), Stewart, K.M. (Kathlyn M.), & Rybczynski, N. (1999). Human Activities and Site Formation at Modern Lake Margin Foraging Camps in Kenya. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 18(4), 397–440. doi:10.1006/jaar.1999.0337