Screening and Fossil Hunting in South Turkwel

|Screening and Fossil Hunting in South Turkwel

Hi, we’re Katie and Letty and we’re students from UCL. On Thursday, we went on a trip to South Turkwel and some deposits nearer the TBI compound to learn about surveying and excavation techniques used in Paleoanthropology. Currently we are taking a course on Human Evolution led by Dr. Jason Lewis.

In the morning, we took a short truck journey to the South Turkwel deposits where we learnt about surveying techniques and began to flag some fossils we spotted on the surface.

Ned used his eagle eyes to spot a fragment of fossilized bone.

Ned used his eagle eyes to spot a fragment of fossilized bone.

After we scoured the area for fossils, Dr. Lewis explained each piece of fossilized bone we found. The importance of identifying bone in the field is vital for gaining greater understanding about the site.

Dr. Lewis discusses fossils with his students.

Dr. Lewis discusses fossils with his students.

Then we moved on to the dirty work. First, we laid out a section and began to sweep sediment off the surface of the area.

Francis, John, and Dr. Lewis show us how it’s done.

Francis, John, and Dr. Lewis show us how it’s done.

Katie sweeps and searches for fossils (and has no luck).

Katie sweeps and searches for fossils (and has no luck).

After collecting buckets of sediment, we then began to sieve for smaller finds.

Eloise and Alex work together to sieve for finds, being careful not to get dust in their eyes.

Eloise and Alex work together to sieve for finds, being careful not to get dust in their eyes.

Students search through the sieved sediment for fossil fragments.

Students search through the sieved sediment for fossil fragments.

Katie has sieved through her first bucket of sediment and is ready to do it all again.

Katie has sieved through her first bucket of sediment and is ready to do it all again.

Students and staff throw a pose over our sieved section.

Students and staff throw a pose over our sieved section.

In the afternoon, we moved on to survey some deposits nearer the TBI compound. We were asked to flag any identifiable fossils. By the end of the day, we found some animal remains but no new species of hominin, unfortunately.

Students looking ready with their flags (Stacey is particularly ecstatic) .

Students looking ready with their flags (Stacey is particularly ecstatic).

Katie and Trisha surveyed the area.

Katie and Trisha surveyed the area.

Stacey plants a flag next to a bovid tooth.

Stacey plants a flag next to a bovid tooth.

This was a good learning experience in knowing how to identify fossilized bone from similar-looking rocks, and provided insight into the process of paleontological surveying.

 

Thank you for reading!

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:51+00:00 October 23rd, 2014|Field Schools|Comments Off on Screening and Fossil Hunting in South Turkwel

About the Author:

Hello! I am Abby Koppa, the TBI Field School TA for Fall 2014, a third-year PhD student at Stony Brook University in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, and a TBI Graduate Fellow. My research interests include the nutritional and mechanical properties of East African savanna plants, paleoecology, and hominin paleodiet.