Kenyan and Chinese archaeologists yesterday made another major breakthrough in their excavation work after they discovered prisoners' shackles and spent cartridges at a mass grave in Malindi.
The experts described the items as a possible link that indicated there were military activities in Malindi Kingdom and the Kenyan coast. In their latest findings at the site, which had over 15 mammalian skeletons, the archeologists also found skeletons believed to be of wild animals together with those that are human-like.
Other discoveries in the 'mass grave site' were Indian and Chinese pottery materials, which the excavators said was a clear proof that Malindi had trade links with the Far East during the pre-colonial era. Jambo Haro, the National Museums of Kenya head of archaeology in charge of Coast and Caesar Bita, NMK's head of underwater archaeology, led the excavation team.
Haro said the discovery is clear evidence that the skeletons in the trench is not a mass grave but a proof that there were warfare activities. "Today, we have made a major breakthrough in the trench being excavated and cleared out the assumptions that this was a mass grave. In our excavation, we found two shackles (handcuffs) and spent cartridges, a clear indication that the bodies were related to military work," he said.
The Archeologist said they could however not ascertain whether the skeletons were those of prisoners of war until further analysis. "There is also pottery materials related to Indians, a clear indication that the Coastal Community traded with the Indians," he said.
The site where the mammalian skeletons were found at the Malindi chief's office is near the Indian Ocean and very close to the former water mark and which has now turned to be a riparian land.
Other sites identified include the Malindi Museum and Mamburui which is believed to have existed in the past 1400 years ago. Research being undertaken is aimed to trace Chinese trade links and dubbed the 'CINO' Kenya. Mr. Bita said they were expecting to make more discoveries that would help in rewriting the history of Malindi Kingdom and its links to the Far East.
He advised locals to tour the sites and learn about the history as it was important not only to the world. Some of the locals who have visited the site were shocked to see such major findings and wondered how the experts chose the location.