An ancient cemetery containing the remains of nearly 600 people has been discovered at a site in northern Kenya was constructed near Lake Turkana by the simple herders that inhabited the region 5,000 years ago.
This kind of monumental architecture has previously been associated with societies governed by strict hierarchies such as ancient Egypt. However, these east African herders are thought to have in an egalitarian society, based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights. None of the burials appears to have been singled out as particularly special and while the ornaments like stone beads were found, these too seemed to be shared equally among the grave’s occupants.
"Lothagam North provides an example of monumentality that is not demonstrably linked to the emergence of hierarchy, forcing us to consider other narratives of social change." explained Dr. Elizabeth Sawchuk of Stony Brook University, part of the research team behind the discovery.