Death, bodily fluids and fertility: the Wakas of Konso

The Pallasboy Project

Dr Suzi Richer, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Archaeology, University of York

Photo by Senna Thornton-Barnett. Wakas in Konso, Ethiopia Photo by Senna Thornton-Barnett. Wakas in Konso, Ethiopia

“The wakas are a form a material culture in which elements of the process of ‘breastfeeding’ are represented” (Watson 2009)

A couple of days ago, if I had been asked the question “What do the wakas represent?”, my first answer would not have been breastfeeding. But my interest was piqued. What has become clear whilst I’ve been reading around about the wakas is that context is key. Before I explain any further, let me take you back further in the story.

Much like Nina, I have been keeping-up with the developments of the Pallasboy Project from afar. Watching it unfold and seeing and hearing different people and their perspectives come into the project; it has given it a vibrancy and a feeling of ‘I wonder what they will do…

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