Title of the session

RETHINKING AND REVISING THE KANSYORE: PARADIGM CHALLENGING EVIDENCE FROM WESTERN UGANDA

Session Organizer(s)

Professor Peter R. Schmidt,
The University of Florida,
Email: (schmidtp@ufl.edu)


Nyiracyiza Jackline Besigye,
PhD Student University of Pretoria, SA
Email: j4cyiza@gmail.com 

Delivery format

Podium

Nature of a session

Open for contributions

Session abstract

Studies on Kansyore people have concentrated on the eastern Lake Victoria basin in Kenya and on parts of Northern Tanzania. Researchers in these areas have claimed Kansyore affinities, yet significant questions remain about their relationship to the Kansyore of Uganda. Research around the crater lakes south of Fort Portal, Uganda, reveals exciting results from Kansyore occupation sites, multi-component sites that include Ntusi/Bigo, Transitional Early Iron Age, and Kansyore ceramics as well as massive urns of Boudine ware—long undefined chronologically and culturally by archaeologists. Excavations show burial evidence directly associated with both Kansyore and Boudine ceramics along with possible evidence for pre-ceramic lithics. These findings cause us to re-write the occupational and agricultural history of Uganda--both pastoral and farming--within the wet tropical forests of the region at the turn of the first millennium CE. Our findings also provide new insights into human and environmental interactions, with intense periods of forest clearance and recovery as well as a more nuanced understanding of the role of anthropogenic changes vis-à-vis climate change. We observe that lithics played a key role in food production and as well as hunter-gather economic specialization, showing long-term production for a variety of economic pursuits. Comparison of ceramic evidence from other regions indicates close affinities with northern (Sudanese) and not eastern populations named as “Kansyore” in the Lake Victoria basin. These observations are reinforced by historical linguistics research that details the movement and proximity of many different language groups in the region starting in 500 BCE.

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