University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: Kathleen Ryan

Edible Wild Plants as Digestive Aids: Ethnoarchaeology in Maasailand

Science & Archaeology

By: Kathleen Ryan

Indigenous cultures around the world retain knowledge of a diversity of plants in their environments, including plants used for medicinal purposes. In recent decades, media attention has focused on tropical rain forests, whee local healers have for centuries made use of the biodiverse resources to develop rich pharmacopoeia. Less attention has been paid to semiarid […]


The Origins of Pastoralism in Eastern Africa: Archaeological Exploration on the Laikpia

Research Notes

By: Kathleen Ryan and Karega-Münene

How do cattle herders such as the pastoral Maasai of East Africa, manage to survive and often prosper in harsh and unpredictable environments? Can their survival strategies provide analogies for prehistoric pastoralists who lived in similar environments? These questions were posed by one of us, Kathleen Ryan, in 1990, during her first ethnoarchaeological study in […]


Tracking East African Cattle Herders from Prehistory to the Present

By: Kathleen Ryan and Williams Fitts and Mulu Muia and Nina Johnson and Hannah Lau

The herding of domesticated animals permits food production to be extended into many areas of the world too arid for sustainable agriculture, such as the Eurasian steppes, the American short-grass plains, and the African savannas. The productivity of these herds is multiplied several times over if dairying is practiced. Cattle herding, as well as dairying, has […]