Institute of Archaeology


Archaeology of Internment in Kenya During the Mau Mau Uprising

21 November 2022

Gabriel Moshenska (UCL Institute of Archaeology) has been awarded British Academy funding for his research on the Mau Mau rebellion (1952-60).

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The Mau Mau rebellion was an anti-colonial uprising in British-controlled Kenya from 1952 to 1960.

At the core of the British response was a regime of mass detention, based on a network of 50-60 internment camps. Detainees were used as forced labour within the camps and subjected to extremes of violence and deprivation. Today, there remains uncertainty as to the precise number and location of these camps, and if any traces remain.

This proposed project, led by Gabriel Moshenska and funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant, builds on a 2018 pilot project, and aims to conduct comprehensive surveys and digital mapping of two partially surviving internment camps: Aguthi Works Camp and Mweru Works Camp, both of which were repurposed as schools after the conflict.

Gabriel's work will focus on recording surviving camp buildings and infrastructure. The detailed study of these sites is intended to serve as a template for the identification and survey of other camps and conflict sites in Kenya.