Saturday, March 5, 2011

Goat Butchering, Stone Knapping and Excivation

Well, There I was, elbow deep in goat entrails removing the skin with a small sharp stone flake, and having a blast. Now this would certainly disgust many people back home, and I must admit that the idea of it is not particularly enticing, but there I was anyway. I do not need to go into to a very detailed description and this is probably a moment where I do not regret the inability to share photos with you. It is enough to say that we butchered a goat, start to finish, using only the simple stone flakes that we ourselves made. It was not easy, but at the same time I was surprised by the cutting edge of these flakes, the material of which ranged from basalt, which in this case was very grainy and hard to flake, to chirt, which had a smooth and longer lasting cutting edge. I felt very deeply that the process not only put the lives and diet of stone age peoples into perspective, but also that of our own. In the west, we have lost touch with our food. We eat huge amounts of meat, and do not even realize where it comes from. Here, I have seen the process unfold start to finish. The meet I helped butcher, cook and eat last night was only a few hours earlier walking around having lived a cage free and humane life. I feel that here it is possible to have a level of respect for the consumption of meet and the whole process of its production, that we have completely lost back in the states and other industrialized countries.
The reason that we were doing all of this was of course for our archaeology course with Veronica Waweru and Helen Roche. So far in this course, we have had a good introduction both to concepts and practical applications of stone tool production, as well as site excavation at lake Aiyangyang. this course has also been, for me, one of the most rewarding because it is the field that I personally have the most interest in. It has been a great learning experience making, and especially using, stone tools and I hope to continue to learn about the subject when I return home.
Tonight, we are planning to attend a Turkana Wedding, and I have no doubt that it will be an interesting experience. We have, over the past weeks, been as curious about the Turkana as they sometimes seem to be about us. The only difficulty can be that it is easy to offend and we don't want to impose ourselves, which is difficult not to do when you arrive in the largest vehicle for miles and are quite obviously not local. I hope to write again soon, Kwaheri !

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