Well being


This is a collaborative research project between archaeologists and pastoralist community organisations on the long-term history of indigenous water management and well digging in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. Community archaeology on the bio-cultural heritage of extant and abandoned wells will bring together stakeholders with diverse knowledge, skills, and experience to exchange understandings of pastoralist self-organisation and sustainable development in these arid but resilient landscapes. Overcoming inter-community violence through dialogue about the shared past and promoting cultural heritage as pathways to security, identity, and dignity are key goals. Demand for water drives government and investor development in these arid regions and is focused on building infrastructure to extract new energy sources (oil, wind, hydroelectric) to the exclusion of pastoralist rangelands and water points.


• To show how community archaeology research on wells as bio-cultural heritage can empower communities to engage constructively with external actors such as governments, companies, academics, and NGOs

• To encourage and foster archaeological research skills among local communities, democratizing and decolonizing research-based knowledge

• To ensure that development policy decisions respect the cultural and livelihood rights of local communities

Project Leaders: Dr Freda Nkirote M’Mbogori- Country Director British Institute in Eastern Africa, Co-I Prof Paul Lane- Professor University of Cambridge

Indigenous wells, pastoralist biocultural heritage and community archaeology for sustainable development in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia