Where was the cemetery discovered?
The cemetery was discovered in an area near Lake Turkana in Kenya, East Africa. A team of international researchers from Stony Brook University in New York has unearthed the cemetery at the Lothagam North Pillar site. This cemetery is currently the oldest monument in East Africa.
Who built the cemetery?
Experts say a group of nomadic pastors with no social hierarchy built the cemetery 4,300 and 5,000 years ago. The first shepherds built a structure pierced with a hole 98 feet in diameter used for burial. In the hole, at least 580 people from all age groups were buried.
Above the bodies, the group added items such as stones, cairns and columns of megaliths. The fact that there is no special form of treatment for anyone and that everyone has been buried with their equitably distributed ornaments also indicates an unstructured society.
Why is this discovery so important?
This discovery casts doubt on all previous findings of the researchers. In fact, experts previously thought that a community without a social structure could not have created such a monument. For a community to do something like that, there had to be some kind of regulation.
Potentially, this graveyard can change the overall outlook on the past. Preliminary theories state that it is possible that these communities have come together to bury their dead in a single place in order to console each other, revealing to researchers something interesting about the social structure of ancient societies.