Kisese II Rockshelter, Tanzania

Kathryn L. Ranhorn, Debra Colarossi, Sarah Molel, Myra F. Laird, Jason E. Lewis, Husna Mashaka, Elizabeth Niespolo, Samantha T. Porter, Elizabeth Sawchuk, Warren D. Sharp, Christian A. Tryon, Ilaria Patania

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Center in Kondoa, Tanzania, the Kisese II rock shelter (4.49° S, 35.81° E,) preserves an extensive record of intermittent human use over at least the last 45,000 years, maintaining a varying role over time as a habitation site, a place for burial, and a canvas for making rock art. An archaeological investigation of the site was initiated in 1951 by Louis and Mary Leakey but was never published. During this time, the Leakeys were conducting extensive field research in Kondoa in search of archaeological evidence that could be used to refine the age of the rock paintings in the area. At Kisese II they placed a c. 4 × 2 m trench and reached over 4 m depth. The abundance of finds and the unusual depth of the archaeological deposit at Kisese II compared to the other nearby tested locations prompted the Leakeys to enlist the help of Ray Inskeep to continue investigating the site. The site provides evidence for changes in how stone tools, ostrich eggshell beads, and ochre technologies were made and used, and the archaeological deposit appears to sample the Last Glacial Maximum, an interval of climate dynamism not well-preserved in many other eastern African localities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Pleistocene Archaeology of Africa
EditorsAmanuel Beyin, David K. Wright, Jayne Wilkins, Deborah I. Olszewski
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-20290-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-20289-6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2023


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