Professor Hans Reck

Name ID 520

See also

Cole, Sonia Leakey's Luck
Page Number: 113-114
Extract Date: 1935

Engaruka is in the middle of nowhere

Reck had been to Engaruka in 1913 and told Louis of burial mounds there, and in Arusha Louis had heard reports of a mysterious 'ruined city' capable of housing a million people; there were even rumours of 'inscriptions' (which in fact consist of some pecked lines and marks which mean nothing in any known language). When he was asked by the Tanganyika Government to make a report, therefore, he willingly agreed and set out full of curiosity and anticipation.

Engaruka is about forty miles from a village with a colourful market known as Mto wa Mbu, 'River of mosquitoes', where everyone stops on the way to Olduvai to buy tomatoes and bananas. Engaruka itself is in the middle of nowhere, on the floor of the Rift Valley between Lakes Manyara and Natron. There is a track of sorts leading to it, but even today it is one of the dustiest in East Africa, which is saying a good deal, and the only landmarks are the occasional magnificent baobab tree. When Louis and Mary went there in 1935 the track was almost invisible. Suddenly, with no apparent reason, in the middle of the bush there is a cluster of huts; but in fact there is a very good reason for their presence, for just behind them a glorious stream of clear water cascades down the scarp of the Rift, That is why a settlement existed at Engaruka in iron age times, and why there is one there today. On the slopes above the present village is a huge complex of stone walls, hut floors and cairns, now known to spread over ten square miles. By building a system of terraces and ditches, crops could be irrigated from the river (by damming the stream it is still possible to divert water along the ancient channels). Louis and Mary excavated a couple of cairns but were disappointed to find no burials in them.

They also dug beneath a hut floor, where they found only a few potsherds, beads and scraps of iron. In his estimate of the number of huts in the hill ruins, which he put at 6,000-7,000, Louis exaggerated. Allowing for five people per house this would give a population of some 30,000, with another 3,000 or so living in the valley ruins below. 'There is a vast job to be done here,' he concluded. 'The surveying alone would take one man about two years to do really properly,'" However, he decided that this was protohistory, not prehistory, and he was not the man to do it. It was another thirty years before anyone tackled Engaruka.

Extract ID: 3336

See also

Gillman, Clement An Annotated List of Ancient and Modern Indigenous Stone Structures in Eastern Africa
Page Number: 49
Extract Date: 1913

The first detailed description

The first detailed description of what he calls 'the cairn-field of Engaruka' is by Reck who, in 1913, was the first archaeologically-trained observer to examine the site.

Extract ID: 1192

See also

Gillman, Clement An Annotated List of Ancient and Modern Indigenous Stone Structures in Eastern Africa
Page Number: 50
Extract Date: 1913

Ngorongoro Tombs

A Siedentopf, who had established a cattle ranch on the crater bottom, and his assistant Rothe discovered mounds near their homestead in 1912 and soon recognised them as burial cairns. They were later examined by Drs Reck (in 1913) and Arning (in 1915), who found in one of them the skeletons of a man, a woman and, lying between them, of a child.

.... Professor Ankermann - in an appendix to Reck's paper - states that the Ngorongoro tombs show several similarities with. but also contrasts to, those of Engaruka, but that both types prove Hamitic origin. He is unable to decide their age but doubts whether they should be ascribed to a Neolithic culture, as Reck does.

Extract ID: 1217

See also

Hanby, Jeannette & Bygott, David Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Page Number: 63
Extract Date: 1913

expedition to Olduvai

Professor Hans Reck's expedition to Olduvai to collect fossils, sponsored by the Kaiser

Extract ID: 861

See also

Hanby, Jeannette & Bygott, David Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Page Number: 63
Extract Date: 1913

Professor Hans Reck

Professor Hans Reck's expedition to Olduvai to collect fossils, sponsored by the Kaiser

Extract ID: 779

See also

Gillman, Clement An Annotated List of Ancient and Modern Indigenous Stone Structures in Eastern Africa
Page Number: 51
Extract Date: 1916

Minor Rift Valley Sites

Minor Rift Valley Sites - Reck mentions the following:

In 1916, Mrs Trappe discovered old tombs on her farm at the eastern foot of Mount Meru, which differ markedly from those at Engaruka and Ngorongoro: 'In front of, and not on top of, the grave stood a shield-like stone slab, like a door, about one and a half metres long and one meter high ..... This great slab was supported by dressed stones, and in front of it lay bones, pot shards, and small stones painted red. Remnants of stone huts and of foundations of a stone wall were likewise found.'

Extract ID: 1257

See also

Hanby, Jeannette & Bygott, David Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Page Number: 63
Extract Date: 1931

Leakey organised an expedition to Olduvai with Reck

Leakey organised an expedition to Olduvai with Reck, and found stone tools within hours of arriving.

Extract ID: 862

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 026
Extract Date: 1933

Reck visits Siedentopf

[Reck, Professor Hans] Visited Adolph Siedentopf and published a record of his impressions in his book 'Oldoway' in 1933.

Extract ID: 863
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