On Friday 18 November, TBI Students completed their last course, Archaeology of the Turkana Basin, taught by Sonia Harmand. Students learned about the major steps in the development of early technologies in Africa, from the appearance of the first stone tools 2.6 Myrs ago to the Neolithic.
Through practical study, drawing and refitting of archaeological material, the class learned to distinguish knapped stone tools from natural stones:
Individual experimental knapping on local volcanic rocks and goat butchering was not only fun but also informative to assess the ability required to create efficient sharp edges:
Discussion on several examples of living primate tool use raised the fundamental question of what it means to be human and the cognitive status of early humans and their first technologies:
The second week of class, students went on a 3-day field trip to the western shore of Lake Turkana to visit the recently excavated site of Kokiselei 4, the oldest Acheulean site known so far in the world. They got the chance to dig several square meters at the oldowan site of Kokiselei 6 following traditional excavation techniques: