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H 210 x W 210 mm

202 pages

Illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (121 plates in colour)

Published Oct 2018

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789690330

Digital: 9781789690347

Recommend to a librarian

Archaeology; Ecology; Ethnography; Anthropology; Africa; Ethiopia; Omo-Turkana

The River: Peoples and Histories of the Omo-Turkana Area

Edited by Timothy Clack, Marcus Brittain

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This sumptuously illustrated book brings together a remarkable collection of the world’s leading archaeologists, ecologists, historians and ethnographers who specialise in the Omo-Turkana area (spanning spans parts of Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya), and recognising it as a crucial, and currently vulnerable, resource of global heritage.



Foreword – by Anthony, Lord St John of Bletso ;
Introduction ;

Part 1: Prehistoric Life and Environment ;
1. Hominins and First Humans in the Lower Omo Valley – by Alex Wilshaw and Marta Mirazón Lahr ;
2. Early Prehistory of Fauna and Environment in Mursiland – by Michelle Drapeau ;
3. The Middle Stone Age of the Omo Delta-Turkana Basin – by Huw Groucutt ;
4. The Later Prehistory of the Turkana Basin – by Alex Wilshaw and Marta Mirazón Lahr ;

Part 2: Pastoral Pasts – Entering History ;
5. Environment Histories - The Last 2,000 Years – by Graciela Gil-Romera and Miguel Sevilla-Callejo ;
6. Archaeology of Pastoralism and Monumentality in the Omo Valley – by Marcus Brittain and Timothy Clack ;
7. Global Artefacts: The Pastoral Past in Museums – by Juan Salazar Bonet and Timothy Clack ;

Part 3: Pastoral Presents – The Mursi ;
8. Who are the Mursi? – by David Turton and Lugulointheno Jordomo ;
9. Colour, Metaphor and Persons – by Jean-Baptiste Eczet ;
10. Clay, Cosmology and Healing – by Kate Fayers-Kerr ;
11. Nomadic Traditions of Cattle Beautification: The Mursi Example – by Timothy Insoll and Timothy Clack ;
12. Material Culture – by Juan Salazar Bonet ;
13. Lip Plates – by Shauna LaTosky ;
14. Identity Ceremony: the Duel – by Tamás Régi ;
15. Local Economics: Cattle and Crops – by Demerew Danye and Anastasia Novichkhina ;

Part 4: Exceptional Diversity – Omo Cultures ;
16. Omo Autonomies: On Populations, Tribes, and Ethnicity – by Felix Girke ;
17. Linguistic Diversity – by Shiferaw Assefa and Marcus Brittain ;
18. Sacrifice and Stone Platforms in Bodi – by Lucie Buffavand and Timothy Clack ;
19. The Hamar: Living By, For and With the Cattle – by Jérôme Dubosson ;
20. The Suri – by Jon Abbink ;
21. Kwegu: Hunters of the River – by Lucie Buffavand ;

Part 5: Finding the Omo – Threats and Impacts ;
22. Written Past: Explorers’ Histories – by Marco Bassi ;
23. Last Chance to See? Intangible Heritage and Responsible Tourism – by Tamás Régi and Timothy Clack ;
24. ‘Our Poverty will be Gone’: Hope for a Mursi Community Conservation Area – by Will Hurd ;
25. From Marginalization to Megadam Crisis: The Dasanech and their Northern Turkana Neighbours – by Claudia Carr ;



‘The current socio-economic and political happenings in the Omo-Turkana Basin are profoundly disturbing. Showcasing the area’s global importance, this compilation is a timely and crucial landmark in the pages of African history and archaeology.’Dr Richard Leakey, Turkana Basin Institute

‘Written by eminent scholars, this book showcases the rich and unique heritage of the Lower Omo Valley from prehistory to the present.’Prof. Tekle Hagos, Addis Ababa University

‘This collection of essays highlights the deep history of the Omo-Turkana basin, and the material and cultural traditions of the region’s inhabitants past and present. The reader is treated to rich, textured insights into the remarkable heritage of this part of the African continent, the many environmental and political challenges facing today’s inhabitants, and their continuing resilience in the face of adversity.’Prof. Paul Lane, University of Cambridge