Archaeological work in Uganda goes back to 1914 during the colonial period. Most of the archeological work by then done by surveyors and geologists from the Uganda Geological survey department
This unit is responsible for all archeological landscapes of the country, field research and laboratory archaeology research. The unit under the component of research also issues permits to researchers in the field of archeology. These include both local and foreign researchers. Through collaboration with academic institutions, local and foreign researchers, a number of archaeological sites and collections have been documented across the country including sites with Stone Age and Iron Age assemblages.
A brief history of archaeological work in Uganda
Archaeological work in Uganda goes back to 1914 during the colonial period. Most of the archeological work by then done by surveyors and geologists from the Uganda Geological survey department. This is evidenced from the works of Wayland who is sometimes described as the pioneer of East African Archaeology. By 1934 Wayland had described the main features of Uganda’s past including the Stone Age sequence, the relationship of the sequence in relation to the stratigraphical succession.
Since 1920’s local and other researchers from different parts of the world majorly Europeans and Americans have collected archeological evidences from different parts of Uganda through archaeological surveys and excavations. Part of these collections is showcased in the archeology galleries ranging from some of the oldest Stone Age tools to Iron Age collections.
Stone age tools displayed include Acheulean tools such as heavy duty hand axes believed to have been used about 1.5million years Ago to 200,000Years Ago, tools of Sangoan origin; large picks believed to have been used about 200,000Years Ago and the Late Stone Age tools such as Micro lithic tools used by hunter gatherers. Iron Age sites and collections showcased include Bigo Bya Mugenyi, Ntusi mound excavation and collections and the figurine of the Luzira head found in association with other broken terracotta objects and pot sherds dating between 10th and 19th century. Most of the collected archeological remains are kept in archaeological stores in the basement of the Uganda National Museum majorly for further research and comparative analysis. The collections kept include; Potsherds, Lithic/stone tools/artefacts, animal and human remains/bones, shells, beads. scientific materials which can provide evidence of the past populations that lived in Uganda.
Link to archaeological sites
-Rock art sites in Eastern Uganda (Nyero, Kakoro, Komuge, Kapir and Dolwe)
-Nsongezi rock Shelter
-Kansyore archeological site
-Ntusi mounds and the Basin (Bwogero)
-Bigo Bya Mugenyi
-Ntusi earth works
-Kibiro salt-producing village and,
-Munsa earthworks among others
Most archaeological sites in Uganda are located in western, central and southern region with a few sites in Eastern region. Northern region has not yet produced major archeological
Major archeological Research Projects and activities
As a unit we carry out Environmental and Social cultural Impact Assessment (ESIAs) are for development projects in the country
The Department of Museums and Monuments (DMM) is mandated through the Historical Monuments Act of 1967 to preserve and protect historical monuments and objects of Archaeological, Paleontological, Ethnographical and Cultural interests. Therefore, to ensure that Social Cultural aspects of the environment have been considered in ESIAs, the department as a leading Agency reviews Environmental and Social Cultural Impact Assessment reports as submitted by NEMA
The review takes a period of two to four weeks, or even less depending on the quality and magnitude of the project. Response to Projects are given a go ahead provided the Department’s concerns are considered. During this period, communication between NEMA and DMMs is limited as the contractor is not advised to influence the decisions.
The Department also take part in the monitoring of the project during and after the implementation phase. Like the review process, depending on sensitivity of the project location.