Institute of Archaeology


Digital Archaeology and Heritage of the Mau Mau Emergency

5 September 2019

Institute researchers are collaborating with The Museum of British Colonialism and African Digital Heritage to study and record the archaeological heritage of the Mau Mau Emergency in Kenya.

Institute researchers with collaborative team, alongside 91 year old Wambugu wa Nyingi, working on the archaeology and heritage of the Mau Mau Emergency, Kenya

British colonial detention and works camps set up during the Mau Mau Emergency are estimated to have numbered over 100, yet today, many in the UK, Kenya, and beyond do not know where they are, or that they ever existed. In an ongoing effort to restore knowledge and awareness of this history, Institute researchers Gabriel Moshenska and Hannah McLean (MA Public Archaeology) have launched the first digital reconstructions of two of these sites: Mweru and Aguthi.

Former cell window at Mweru High School, previously used as a Works Camp (detention centre)

Used today as schools, these sites are harrowing reminders of the British counterinsurgency tactics used against the Mau Mau, and more broadly the world. Through fieldwork surveys, digital reconstructions, oral history interviews, and exhibitions, the collaborative team are aiming to preserve these important sites and ensure that these stories and experiences are not forgotten.

The project, which has been supported by a small grant from the UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studiescorresponds to the centre's themes of Making Global Heritage Futures and Embracing the Archive, as well as broader emerging themes of Decolonising Heritage, Museums and Archaeology.

Further details