Trying to find information about Gogo Falls, Kenya, is like sifting through a sandbank for a lost ring. Apparently it is that difficult for the archaeologists trying to study the area as well. Due to political and some social issues, access to the site seems to be extremely limited.
What we do know
Archaeologists from the British Museum first excavated this site in 1983. Their original findings were basic, according to the Kenyan archaeological journal “Nyame Akume.” It seems that the British archaeologists found flora, fauna, and some pottery.
In 1989 the site changed hands, with Karega-Munene and Samuel Kahinju directing the dig. He found much more, apparently even including preserved ostrich egg beads and a lot of iron that the researchers in charge of the dig are still not able to rejoin due to intense rust. There were also a large amount of disks and artifacts made of obsidian, which possibly came from a quarry at Lake Naivasha which is near Gogo Falls.
The animal remains that Karega-Munene and his colleague found at the site were enormous, including equids and snakes, as well as many domestic animals including the dog and buffalo. Rodent remains were in great number also.
Peter Thomas Robertshaw seems to have also been to the dig at Gogo Falls, but his articles are not available to the general public. However, the book “East African Archaeology: Foragers, Potters, Smiths and Traders,” by Sibel Barut Kusimba, does give a few secondary references to the site.
Thanks to Mr. Kusimba, we know about Akira, a type of pottery that has thin walls covered in paneling for design rather than stamping like at other sites. Akira was very pretty, and apparently very rare, because researchers have found it at only Gogo Falls and the nearby Lukenya Hill. It’s still very uncertain, however, when exactly Akira Ware was made. A brief mention in “Nyame Akume” of the ceramic suggests that Mrs Karega-Munene and Kahinju found it.
There seems to be a great deal of political and social in-fighting regarding this site, which is hampering the study of it. For instance, the clear bias in “Nyame Akume” is apparent as there is only a brief mention of what the British found when they first dug at the site in 1983, but a greater amount of time and detail is given to the Kenyans who worked there. It has been noted at the few Internet sites where you can get some information about Gogo Falls that there have been “indigenous archaeologists,” who do indeed question the work of anyone else there.
Future of the site
It’s unclear at this time what if anything the future of the site at Gogo Falls is. So much fighting has gone on regarding it that in order to get anywhere with the research, things need to calm down first. In the meantime, we can only take what little information is allowed to us to get.