Artefacts discovered at site of 19th cent. palace of King of Rwanda

Archaeologists excavating the site of a palace belonging to Rwandan King Kigeri IV Rwabugiri (1853-1895) in Rubengera, Western Province, Rwanda, discovered artefacts and and archaeological remains that might shed more light on the country’s history.

Excavations at the site (by Faustin Niyigena & New York Times)

The Rubengera royal residence was built in 1874 after the king’s military expedition to Butembo in Congo. It is a place where king Rwabugiri regularly celebrated the Harvest Day, called Umuganura, and where his troops gathered and  camped waiting for the launch of the expeditions. The archaeological research is aimed at getting information that would be analysed, documented and preserved for the current and future generations to learn more about Rwanda’s history, including what happened at the royal court, and what various rituals were conducted at the royal court. Archaeologist André Ntagwabira states that the team has already found big pots called intango z’imitsindo that were used for ritual purposes. Already two of them, were found and possibly a third might be nearby.

Site of excavations (by Faustin Niyigena & New Times)

Moreover, the researchers discovered postholes that may direct them to the entire structure, the houses and the enclosure. Inside intango, archaeologists found objects such as small bones, small objects made from quartzite, beads which were also found in another grave of former King Kirima Rujugiro. As a big part of Rwandan history is known through oral traditions this archaeological research is expected to provide a well-researched version of the history with supporting materials.

Possible remains of intango z’imitsindo – big pots (by Faustin Niyigena & New York Times)

Currently Rwanda has only two qualified archaeologists, which are working for the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda and there are are more than 500 heritage sites in Rwanda and only few of them have been excavated. Also there are more than 100 royal places such as this one that is being excavated.

(after AllAfrica, New Times, Faustin Niyigena & )

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