Ancient Massacre in Kenya Discovered


Archaeologists have discovered a site in northern Kenya where a mass killing took place about 10000 years ago. The nomads were not buried  but were left to die in the open.

The archaeologists discovered that the men, women and children were stabbed or clubbed to death. They do not really know, however, how the ancient massacre happened.

Nataruk, near Lake Turkana, was an area full of vegetation which attracted many grazing animals. It was more liveable than the other side of the lake, which was very rocky.  One of the reasons for the ancient massacre may be food that groups of hunters and gatherers were fighting for.

The skeletons that scientists found at the site  showed wounds on the necks of the victims. In some cases their skulls were smashed. One man was found with with a sharp blade of volcanic rock still embedded in his skull. Others had broken arms and legs. A pregnant woman was found with her arms and legs tied together.



Although the massacre in northern Kenya is the oldest evidence of violence between groups of people, historians believe that warfare emerged much later when humans stopped being nomads and started to settle down.  They claim that nomads probably did not fight because they were able to move away from danger.

The grave site, first discovered in 2012, is proof that violence may have been going on longer than first thought.



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  • although = while
  • archaeologist = person who studies old civilizations and the buildings and houses that are left over from that time
  • attract = here: to make animals go there
  • blade = flat part of a knife or other object used for cutting
  • bury = put a dead person into a grave
  • club = to beat a person with a heavy object or stick
  • discover = to find for the first time
  • embedded = still fixed into something
  • emerge = come up, start
  • evidence = one or more reasons that shows that something has happened
  • gatherer = a person who gathers food instead of getting it by farming
  • grave = place where a dead person is buried
  • graze = when animals eat grass
  • historian = someone who writes about or studies history
  • liveable = here: better to live
  • mass killing = the killing of many people at once
  • nomad = person who moves from one place to another instead of living in the same place all the time
  • pregnant = to expect a baby
  • proof = evidence, facts that show something is true
  • scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • site = place
  • skeleton = the frame of bones of a human
  • skull = bones of the head that surround the brain
  • smash = break into pieces
  • stab = here: kill someone with a knife or other sharp object
  • victim = here: person who died in the massacre
  • violence = fighting
  • warfare = the act of fighting against each other
  • wound = a damaged part of your body