Nairobi, August 20 : Stone tools and artefacts found in a region in Tanzania, show that the Hehe - one of the ethnic groups in the region - used the site as a sort of Stone Age weapons factory.
According to a report in The East African, the findings were made at Isimila near Iringa town, over 500 kilometres from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Excarvation in Iringa region, especially Mtera and Upper Kihansi, indicate that there were settlements in these areas from as early as 200,000 years ago to as late as the Iron Age.
According to Mohammed Ngoma, a conservationist at the Isimila Stone Age Site, Upper Kihansi too was a production site for stone tools of the Neolithic period, which include pot shards and remains of iron works.
The Iron Age settlements in Iringa district and rock paintings at Kombangulu in Kilolo district also provide fascinating glimpses into the lives of early humans.
The Isimila site is reputed to have been inhabited from 300,000 to 400,000 years ago.
The soil erosion that has been occurring there over the millennia, has uncovered remains of stone tools, animals and plants that have contributed to the understanding of the pre-history of the area.
The stone tools currently preserved at Isimila include knives, slingshots, stone hammers, hand axes, scrapers, and spears.
A magnificent "Mgoha" spear on display at the site, for instance - made in the year 1700 by the Hehe ethnic group - was donated to the site by one Zuberi Mwamwitala.
Such tools and weapons served to protect the people from enemies - both human and animals as well as to hunt animals for food.
Erosion at Isimila has exposed many layers of soil and rocks of different types, marking the different historical periods.
The tools are made from a variety of rocks such as granite and quartzite.
Fossils found in the area suggest the existence of animals such as elephants, a variety of extinct pigs, giraffe and hippo.