Iringa is the capital of the Iringa District. This area has numerous koppies or boulder rockshelters, many of which were probably used in the stone age. I visited a number of these in the summer of 2005 to investigate the possibility of future excavation.

About 20 km west of the city is the famous Acheulean site of Isimila where numerous bifacial tools, other stone artifacts and bones are eroding out of lacustrine (old lake) deposits.

IsimilaIsimila in 1990Handaxes at Isimila

(a) and (b) Isimila; (c) handaxes and other artifacts at Isimila


In 1989, we were asked to look at a rockshelter site next to the Assemblies of God church in Iringa. It is clear that this is a LSA and/or MSA site.

Iringa rockshelterArtifacts

(a) Rockshelter near Assemblies of God church in Iringa City; (b) Artifacts at Iringa rockshelter.


This is one of possibly dozens of archaeological sites under granite boulder koppies. In 2005, I stopped and visited a number of these. One is in Mlambalasi, better known as the burial site of Chief Mkwawa (1858-1898) of the Hehe. Test excavations at Mlambalasi in 2006 produced a sequence including Iron Age, Later Stone Age and Middle Stone Age.

Grave of Chief MkwakwaMlambalasi rockshelterMlambalasi artifacts

(a) burial site of Chief Mkwakwa, Mlambalasi, west of Iringa; (b) Mlambalasi rockshelter; (c) Surface of Mlambalasi rockshelter, showing Iron Age pottery, stone artifacts.


Magubike rockshelterMagubike is a rockshelter between Iringa City and the Ruaha National Park. Located in the village of the same name, it contains evidence of occupation during the Iron Age and Middle Stone Age. MSA levels are also associated with fossil bones and shells, as well as 6 fossil hominin teeth.


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