Early iron age sites in Tanganyika relative to traditional history

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NORTHERN Tanganyika represents a borderland where several ethnic stocks meet and mingle. Firstly, there are the Nilo-hamitic pastoralists, represented by the Masai and the Tatog; secondly, an unidentified stock, possibly Hamitic, of whom the Iraqw of Mbulu form the largest tribe: and, finally, the Bantu, typified by the Pare, Chagga and Meru. All these tribes possess one feature in common; none claims autochthony, all having arrived, according to their own and neighboring tribes’ traditions, in recent centuries into their present habitat. The pastoralists arrived with their language and culture much as they are today; there is a considerable body of evidence to support this traditional belief. Much the same applies to the Iraqw group, though modification has probably been greater here. With the Bantu, however, no tribe possesses a tradition or belief in a mass migration; all admit to entering their present areas in dribs and drabs, drawing their component elements from various tribes, and not always Bantu. There is no traditional record of the new inhabitant/replacing previous agricultural folk. The Chagga record dwarf hunters in the forest (Dundas, 1924), as do the Mbugwe (Gray, 1955). The Chagga (Dundas, ibid.) also record another tribe, the Umbo, but it appears from the record that these were transitory and not settled inhabitants of the area. A rem¬nant group, the Ngassa, is found amongst the Chagga but I have shown elsewhere (Fosbrooke, 1955) that these were probably precursors of the Nilo-hamitic Masai. Another remnant group, the Mbugu, were more numerous amongst the Pare in the past, but are today found mostly amongst the Sambaa; the latest assessment of their language (Whiteley and Gutkind, 1954) indicates that they are more likely of Iraqw, rather than of Nilo-Hamitic origin. The latter stock, however, was early in the area, as, in addition to the Ngassa mentioned above, the present-day hunters, the Dorobo, of the Ruvu Valley, speak a language of the Nandi group (Maguire, 1948), whilst early German records mention the existence of Tatog in the Kilimanjaro area.
Available in Print form, East Africana Collection, Dr Wilbert Chagula Library, ( EAF FOS F78.E2)
Early, Traditions, Early iron age sites, Tanganyika
Fosbrooke, Henry A. (1955) Early iron age sites in Tanganyika relative to traditional history