Chinese and Kenyan archeologists are optimistic of making a major discovery in Malindi after they unearthed some mammalian skeleton, bullet cartridges and an ancient house wall in a site near the Malindi chief’s camp.
The archeologists are excavating several sites in Malindi and Mambrui in search of an ancient Malindi Kingdom believed to be at the site of the first contact between the Swahili and the Chinese in the 14th century.
Yesterday, the National Museum of Kenya’s head of Coastal Archeology Jambo Haro said they have discovered some ancient material suggesting some kind of “mortuary practices”. “We have been able to recover substantial information which we want to put under scientific analysis so that we can find out the exact ages of some of the material and information,” said Haro.
NMK Coast region assistant director Athman Hussein said although the discovery is unique, it is not conclusive until more tests and analysis are done. “Some tools were discovered about a metre underground that are believed to have been covered by some natural disasters. We are optimistic about this excavation,” said Hussein.
In mid-July, a group of nine Chinese archeologists from Peking University in Beijing joined six of their compatriots, who had arrived in the country earlier, and two Kenyan experts to start excavating three sites in Mambrui. Haro said some of the areas in Malindi and Mambrui have not yet been excavated as they await the arrival of the Chinese State television, CCTV, crew who will stream the event live from the site. “They were supposed to arrive in the country last week, but they never came. I don’t know when they will be arriving,” said Haro. The leader of the excavation team Dashu Qin said the group will be at Mambrui for months for the excavation exercise. Hussein and Haro said the discovery will be a major boost to Kenya’s tourism industry as it will place the country amongst the top world heritage destinations.