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Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site

KenyaNairobi & Great Rift ValleyEldoret


Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site 

Located 46 km northwest of Migori Town in the Lake Victoria region, Thimlich Ohinga archaeological site is a dry-stone walled settlement, based on a complex organization system of communal occupation, craft industries and livestock that reflects a cultural tradition developed by pastoral communities in the Nyanza region of the Lake Victoria basin that persisted from 16th to mid-20th centuries.

The largest and best preserved of these gigantic dry-stone walled fortifications is Thimlich Ohinga. The Ohinga appear to have primarily served as a source of security for communities and livestock, but they also defined social groupings and relationships tied to lineage-based systems.

There are four larger Ohingni on the site, all of which have additions. Kochieng is the name of the major Ohinga, while Kakuku, Koketch, and Koluoch are the names of the others. The dry stone wall enclosures are created in three phases, with the outer and inner phases being built individually and kept together by the center phase.

Without using any mortar or cement, the stones were put in an interlocking structure that increased overall stability. The walls range in height from 1.5 m to 4.5 m, with an average thickness of 1 m, and are constructed of carefully stacked stones of varied sizes and without mortar.

Thimlich Ohinga is an exceptional testimony of settlement patterns and spatial community relations in the Lake Victoria Basin, which documents the successive occupation by different people from various linguistic origins during an important episode in the migration and settlement of the Lake Victoria Basin between the 16th and 17th centuries. It also gives reference to habitation patterns, livestock cultivation and craft practices prevalent in communal settlements at this time.

The Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018.

(Source UNESCO)


  • KenyaNairobi & Great Rift ValleyEldoret

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