Sites & cities that bear the name of Shum Laka

Shum Laka

Today in : Cameroon
First trace of activity : ca. 30,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 4th century B.C.E

Description : The archaeological site of Shum Laka is the most prominent rockshelter site in the Grasslands region of the Laka Valley, northwest Cameroon. Occupations at this rockshelter date to the Later Stone Age. This region is important to investigations of the development and subsequent diffusion of the Bantu culture. The site of Shum Laka is located approximately 15 kilometers from the town of Bamenda, and it resides on the inner wall of the Bafochu Mbu caldera. The deposits at Shum Laka include each phase of cultural development in the Grasslands. At Shum Laka, over 1,000 ceramic sherds, nearly 500,000 pieces of lithic materials, and 18 human skeletons were recovered. Radiocarbon dating of the bone and plant remains recovered demonstrated multiple occupations spanning from 30,000 BP to around 400 BP. Bone preservation from the early occupations is poor, with only a few surviving faunal remains and no bone tools. Later occupations depict common exploitation of medium-sized fauna from the forest. These remains include those from several gorillas and chimpanzees, and various artiodactyla. Based upon the small amounts of materials found in individual strata, it is proposed that the site was occupied for numerous short periods of time. Macrobotanical remains recovered included both savanna grasses and forest trees. These indicate that for a period of occupation during the Holocene, Shum Laka was located within an ecotone. Ceramic assemblages recovered from the site date from 7000 BP onward and are indicative of continued longer occupation by semi-agricultural populations. Additionally, these ceramic assemblages indicate the use of the rockshelter by different groups of peoples and that these people interacted with various western African states.

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