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Department of Archaeology


Marakwet Heritage Project

The Marakwet Heritage project is a community based initiative that builds on decades of social anthropological research by Professor Henrietta Moore into the Marakwet community of northwest Kenya. Since 2011 the project has combined archaeological research led by Dr Matthew Davies with social anthropology and cognate disciplines to explore the history and heritage of the Marakwet. Research topics have been diverse and involve a number of collaborators and students. Work has particularly focussed on extensive mapping of the Marakwet landscape with special focus on agricultural features including an impressive pre-colonial irrigation network, alongside field systems and patterns of kinship and land-tenure. Other research trajectories have focussed on base-line archaeological survey, historical demography, vegetation and soils, crop and cultivation histories, oral histories and changing ceremonial practices, and the market economy and exchange. The project operates through the Marakwet Research Station based in Tot in the Northern Kerio Valley and relies on the station's team of expert staff headed by Mr Timothy Kipkeu and Ms Helena Chepto. The local team of researchers currently conduct most of the data collection independently and have a significant hand in project design and development. We also work closely with the National Museums of Kenya and are grateful for research authorisation from the Kenyan ministry for science and technology.

The Marakwet Heritage project is a major component of the British Academy funded African Farming network and operates in collaboration with the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA). Further information on the project and associated collaborations can be found via the links below and the project website.

Principal Investigators

  • Professor Henrietta Moore (University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Matthew Davies (UCL)


  • Dr Freda Nkirote M'Mbogori (National Museums of Kenya)
  • Mr Timothy Kipkeu (Marakwet Research Station)
  • Ms Helena Chepto (Marakwet Research Station)
  • Professor Martin Jones (University of Cambridge)
  • Professor Charles French (University of Cambridge)

Collaborations and links


The British Academy

The British Institute in Eastern Africa

The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Researc


Moore, H.L.M. 2011. Still Life: Hopes, Desires and Satisfactions. Cambridge: Polity Press

Moore, H.L.M. 1986. Space, Text, and Gender: an anthropological study of the Marakwet of Kenya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Davies, M.I.J. 2014. The temporality of landesque capital: farming and the routines of Pokot life. pp. 172-196. In Håkansson, T. and Widgren, M. (eds). Landesque capital: the historical ecology of enduring landscape modifications. Left Coast Press, Historical Ecology series.

Davies, M.I.J. 2013. Forced moves or just good moves? Environmental decision making among Pokot farmers, northwest Kenya. In Davies, M.I.J. and M'Mbogori, F.N.(eds). Humans and the environment: new archaeological approaches for the 21st century. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Davies, M.I.J. 2012. Some thoughts on a 'useable' African archaeology: settlement, population and intensive farming among the Pokot of northwest Kenya. African archaeological review 29:319-353.

Davies, M.I.J. 2010. A view from the East: an interdisciplinary 'historical ecology' approach to a contemporary agricultural landscape in Northwest Kenya. African studies 69:279-297.

Davies, M.I.J. 2008. The irrigation system of the Pokot, northwest Kenya. Azania 43:50-76.

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