Revisiting Lokori’s rock art

At the end of August, TARA revisited the Lokori rock art sites in Northern Kenya to check on the state of the rock art, and to meet with the community members for discussions on the future management of the site.

Lokori is host to rock art sites located on rocky hills known as Namoratunga, the place of stones. Namoratunga is also an archaeological site where a number of ancient graves whose grave stones have geometric engravings on them have been found.

Lokori giraffes

Lokori is one of the most important and interesting sites that TARA has documented in Kenya over the last 15 years. The sites have large numbers of millennia-old rock engravings with the more heavily patinated images indicating greater age. The Namoratunga sites also have multiple “rock gongs”,  rocks with natural resonance probably used in ancient times for divining and ritual communication. The sound was/is made by hitting the rocks with smaller hammer stones. Often a rock bearing engravings is also a gong as in the example in the short clip below.

TARA once again noted that on one of the two hills here there were many goat bones and a broken gourd among the rocks suggesting continued ritual use of the sites. We also noted increased wear on the gongs, exfoliation caused by the beating of hammer stones. Oral legend has it that spirits lived in these hills and sounds of herding and dancing used to be heard.

See more images of our trip here and watch the TARA film on the mysteries of Namoratunga here.

Date: 14 Sept 2015