Because of the successful end of our last excursion in the field, we returned to the same site to try to find other remnants of this ancient primate. When we got back, we did a hill crawl to cover the area below the find, with the thought that over time the fossil skeleton may have gotten separated in the surrounding area. While we were conducting the hill crawl, Dr. Skinner noticed in an adjacent area that a few other primate fragments had been marked and recorded, including a femoral head, a proximal humerus, and part of a mandible. After discussing with Apolo and Sale, we determined that previous fieldwork must have uncovered these fossils. This knowledge was very exciting as we realized that what we had found and were hoping to find could contribute to this previous fieldwork!
Following the hill crawl, we planned to thoroughly sieve the site. We first had to define our sieve area, which we did by clearing the space of all large rocks and using them to mark the boundaries of our section. The students, now experts at all types of field work, largely led the investigation, with everyone helping and alternating roles.
Unfortunately, we were not able to sieve through all the material, but left with the knowledge that the hominin hunters would be returning the following day to finish the job. Though it was comforting to know this site wouldn’t be left unsieved, it also made us realize that this was our last excursion with the TBI-Ileret hominin hunters! We are eternally grateful for their assistance and kindness over the past seven weeks, and could not have asked for better friends from whom to learn these important skills.
The final project for the Human Evolution module was an in-class presentation. This assignment allowed the students to engage in a range of topics, and critically think and analyse a few of the complicated intricacies in the field of human evolution. Below are pictures from several of the presentations!
Dr. Matt Skinner cannot be thanked enough for his knowledge and expertise as he guided us, cast by cast, through the evolutionary lineages of early hominins to what makes us modern humans. To thank him for his help, the students made him a card and a “brow ridge,” a humorous reference to one of his lectures.
Unfortunately, the end of the Human Evolution module also marked the end of our stay at TBI-Ileret. We would be traveling by plane across Lake Turkana to the TBI-Turkwel campus for the Archaeology module.
It is difficult to express the range of emotions we all experienced. The staff not only made our stay here possible, but through their hospitality and kindness, made us feel truly at home. As a result, fast friendships were formed, and students and staff alike found it hard to believe that our time here was up. With heavy hearts and no small amount of tears, we said goodbye (for now!) to our new friends!