Construction workers working on a twin classroom for special needs’ learners at Voi Primary School special unit in Taita-Taveta County on Friday, November 11, stumbled on an archeological site at the school compound.
According to the workers at the construction site, they discovered a possible mass grave for thousands of undocumented African porters and soldiers who died in the World War 1 that was fought between 1914-1918.
The discovery made by the construction workers included several human bones, bangles, rings and shackles among other rare finds.
A Sample of the rare finds discovered at the archeological site from WW1 in Voi
Kenya News Agency Confirming the incident, Tsavo Heritage, a non-governmental organization focuses on the holistic rehabilitation and conservation of the Tsavo Ecosystem and Dispersal Areas, indicated that Voi Primary is built on the former carrier corps base in Voi.
The former carrier corps base was a WW1 base between 1914 and 1918.
“During a class excavation yesterday they found what must have been a mass grave for the corps, bones and chains,” Tsavo Heritage confirmed indicating that the site was not very well handled and might have had more bones within.
The discovery triggered excitement amongst historians and cultural researchers who have for years labored in vain to establish the fate of fighters and porters of African descent who participated in WW1.
“We stand at the cusp of a rare archeological find with great global significance,” Willy Mwadilo, a World War 1 historian indicated.
“If the bones turn out to belong to Africans who participated in World War 1, we will have the first official grave site for our brothers who perished in the war,” he added.
According to Tsavo Heritage, there is need for proper excavation and examination of the site because it is likely to have buried an ammunition dump that needs confirmation.
Little is known about the resting place of WW1 porters with most narratives from the war indicating that Africans’ bodies were simply left wherever they fell; be it in the bushes or in the open battlefields.
The Commonwealth War Graves, an international organization that honors and care for the men and women of the Commonwealth who died in WW1 and WW11 thanked Tsavo Heritage for bringing the rare finds to their attention.
“Our colleagues at the National Museums of Kenya have put a halt to the work and a joint team of NMK/CWGC specialists are making their way to visit the site,” the global organization confirmed.
An image of the carcass of a renown elephant, Dida, who died at the Tsavo East National Park.
KWS died ammunition death fight