Event: Pizza Talk: "Herders, Farmers, and Wildlife: Exploring Impacts of Early Food Production in Kenya"

Date & Time

February 8, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson


Fowler A222

Event Type

Pizza Talk

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. Anneke Janzen, Postdoctoral Scholar, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

Specialized pastoralism emerged in Kenya around 3000 years ago and has adapted with changes in the social and ecological landscape to this day. My dissertation work used stable isotope analysis to explore the mobility and herd management strategies of early pastoralists in south-central Kenya 3000 to 1200 years ago, before the appearance of agriculture in the region.

Another facet of my work on early herding involves examining the anthropogenic effects on wildlife populations. The emergence and spread of pastoralism in East Africa undoubtedly impacted indigenous species, particularly wildebeest, which are found in archaeological sites far outside their current range today. Pastoral extirpation of wildebeest populations from prime grazing areas is one likely cause of their shifting biogeography over time. Through stable isotope analysis of wildebeest teeth from archaeological sites, a history of their annual migration cycle are elucidated, illuminating patterns of local extinction in the context of pastoral expansion in Kenya.