Pictures, and Maps
Here are some wonderful shots from Jens Finke and Maria Helena Barreira, who recently visited the
Namoratunga site and kindly provided the photos. Jens is writing updates for a new version
of a Rough Guide to Kenya and has created a website to present the traditional music
of Kenya in the context of tribal histories, customs, traditions, and rituals. Maria is an
archaeologist, and the photographer of the Namoratunga site photo's below.
Here are some commentaries from Jens' email (full text in the email section).
Yes, the stones are interesting: as you mention somewhere on your site, the first
oddity is the small stones placed on top of the large cylindrical ones by the Turkana.
Odder still, this is exactly what people do in the Senegambian stone circles, although as
far as I can gather, the latter may be (in part) a more recent tradition started by tour
guides with their tourist groups.
There are some funny legends associated with Namoratunga (Kalokol): I first heard the
"Dancing Stones" story from a white Kenyan, so was suspicious at first, until I
came across other versions elsewhere (amazing how many photocopied abstracts and papers my
archaeology-mad girlfriend accumulates). Briefly, the stones were formerly people dancing,
who were either turned to stone by the devil, or were devils, or asked the Turkana (or
previous immigrants) not to laugh at their dancing, which of course the newcomers did,
with the sad result you see today!
Lastly, a Turkana concept which made me smile: back in 1996, I was in Eliye Springs,
supposedly also researching the Rough Guide, but actually taking a short break from it
all. Problem was that the lift back to Lodwar I'd arranged never turned up, and to cut a
long story short, I ended up having to hire a local to guide me 50km across the desert to
Kalokol on foot and night. Wonderful for the first few hours, the mzungu's feet began
getting sore rather quickly thereafter ... "How far are we from Kalokol" I'd
ask. "Not far", he said. Same question an hour later, then at half-hourly
intervals. Finally, he turned and explained, "if you walk faster, the distance will
be shorter". He's absolutely right, of course - except it took us wazungu until
Einstein and our modern comprehension of space-time to work that one out.