AIA Site Preservation Grant Recipient Named World Heritage Site
April 18, 2019 | by AIA

Thimlich Ohinga. Courtesy of Edward Luby.

The Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site was inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2018. A ceremony recently took place at the National Museums of Kenya headquarters in Nairobi to commemorate the site’s inscription to the World Heritage list, and today, April 18th, there will be celebrations at the site to coincide with World Heritage Day. 

In 2011, the AIA awarded a Site Preservation Grant to a community-based conservation project in Luoland in southwestern Kenya, an area that takes its name from the Luo ethnic group. The project is at the roughly 500-year-old site of Thimlich Ohinga. The site has monumental construction, built with unshaped stones and no mortar, which served as a fortification and urban complex. It was reused many times until it was eventually abandoned. Directed by Dr. Edward M. Luby of San Francisco State University and Dr. Isaya Onjala from National Museums of Kenya, the project repaired and restored dilapidated sections of the walls and created informational and educational materials. It also promoted active community participation in the conservation and management of the site, increased awareness of the site and improved visitor experience, produced documentation about the site including clear and self-explanatory signage, and created socio-economic activities such as social meetings at the site and the sale of handcrafted goods to visitors.

Read more about Thimlich Ohinga’s World Heritage status here.

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