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The Tale of Men who Turned into Stones at Namoratunga (Turkana)

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

By: Racheal Asiimwe

It's another day and we are all optimistic about what’s coming. A new day to see and admire the beauty of Africa, this time round in Kenya’s Turkana’s land. The day had pretty been planned, so we had an idea of where we were headed.

Breakfast is done, so we all take our places in the car and the driver starts the engine. And the stories begin … About Kenya, feminism, love …. Blah blah blah. It’s always fun travelling with a group of vibrant people but you know that already.

Our destination was Kalokol at the Naparipari Fish Traders Association (story for another day) but we decided to make a stop at Lodwar-Kalokol road near the western shores of Lake Turkana to appreciate the Dancing Stones and also learn a few things about this archaeological site.

Approximately 15km southwest of Kalokol and some 50m off on the south side of the road, the Dancing Stones of Namoratunga are undoubtedly one of East Africa’s most intriguing archaeological sites. The site, consisting of a small cluster of cylindrical stones is believed by some to have functioned as an ancient kind of stellar observatory.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t enter the premise because this place is under construction. So we gaze through a barricade of barbed wire fence as our guide Nancy shared an interesting Turkana theory for the origins of the stone circle;

𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑐𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑟𝑠. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑇𝑢𝑟𝑘𝑎𝑛𝑎 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑑𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑑 𝐸𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑔'𝑎 ℎ𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑝𝑜𝑝𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑖𝑝𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝑠𝑜 ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑎 𝑚𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑦 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑎 𝑚𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒. 𝐴𝑠 𝑢𝑠𝑢𝑎𝑙 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑢𝑡 ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛'𝑡 𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒. 𝑆𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑑𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑑𝑢𝑏𝑏𝑒𝑑 𝐸𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑔'𝑎 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑇𝑢𝑟𝑘𝑎𝑛𝑎 𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑢𝑎𝑔𝑒.

𝑊ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑑, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛'𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑔𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑒 ℎ𝑖𝑚. 𝑆𝑜 𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑦, 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟'𝑠 𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒, ℎ𝑒 𝑗𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑒𝑛 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑡𝑦𝑙𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑘𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑙𝑎𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑒𝑟.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑠. 𝑇𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝑖𝑡'𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑡 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑏𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝐸𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑔'𝑎.

Visitors are encouraged to stop and put at least one stone on any of the 'stony' ancestors as a sign of respect before taking photos or proceeding with their journey.

In Nariokotome village, where the history of human evolution is believed to have begun, the county government in collaboration with National Museums of Kenya has erected a monument replicating the Turkana Boy, who is believed to have died at the age of between seven and 18 years and his skeleton said to be between 1.5 million and 1.6 million years old.

The area around the monument is fenced and tourists brave the harsh conditions to come here and take photos of the replica of the boy, artistically designed facing upwards.

After hearing this interpretation, we jumped into the car again and proceeded to our next stop — Naparipari Fish Traders Association. I would go on and on about what we discovered at this next location but I would be a spoiler. Right?

I will be back next time with another interesting story. Keep scrolling through our timeline, you never know what you might find. Your next adventure could be here, with us!

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