Oliver Boles

How can geoarchaeology be applied to develop an archaeology of ephemeral pastoralist settlement in eastern Africa

Using geoarchaeology as a platform, my research seeks to develop fresh approaches to the study of pastoralist settlements in central Kenya. Following positive results achieved in a series of geo-ethnoarchaeological studies of Maasai sites in southern Kenya, a suite of geoarchaeological techniques, such as soil micromorphology, will be applied to known archaeological settings. I expect to be able to identify livestock enclosures and other features of these ephemeral sites with which to reconstruct hereto-unattainable aspects of spatial organisation, as well as exploring the localised ecological pressures that such camps have exerted. Besides addressing specific questions such as relate to the recent development of livestock-based economies in the highlands of central Kenya (where my case study-sites are located), it is hoped that the methodologies advanced by this study will offer a significant contribution to the general development of the archaeology of African pastoralism.

Funding organisation

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council


 Educational background

  • BA, Archaeology, UCL, 2010
  • MA, Archaeology, UCL, 2012

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