Hi, we’re Eloise and Stacey, third year Archaeology and Anthropology students from University College London. We are interested in hominin evolution and behaviour, as well as past environments.
Just three days into the geology module, it was time for a two day camping trip to Lothagam, an ancient lake and river bed system to the south of TBI. We packed up our stuff, ready for a night under the stars. After a couple of hours in the truck, we arrived at our camp site; a dried out river bed with a nice big doum palm for shade.
Before lunch Dr. Chris Lepre took us on a short hike up one of the twin ridges, on which we came across many fossilised animal bones and stone tools. Chris explained that we were probably at a Late Stone Age site and those of us with a GPS marked its position. On the way back to camp we stopped off at the Lothagam pillar site. It is not known what the purpose of these pillars was, but it is known that they are dated to the beginning of the use of agricultural practices in the area.
After some lunch and some card games in the shade, we set off on another hike up the second of the twin ridges. On the far side, we reached some large sand dunes which provided some entertainment, with people running up and down them. Then we went back to the river bed to set up camp, where we each had a rolled up mattress complete with sheets and blanket, and a mosquito net hung from a rope strung between the two trucks. After a hearty dinner and more card games, everyone fell asleep under the stars.
On the second day of our trip, everyone was up bright and early at 6am for the big hike. We started off walking along the ancient river bed, looking at the stratigraphy of the sedimentary deposits. Then we reached an ancient lake site; in the heat, it was difficult to picture how the landscape used to be, filled with nice cold water. However, Chris managed to bring it to life.
We continued with the hike, stopping many times along the way to look at interesting stones and fossils. Eventually, we reached an old river gorge, which had very impressive rock formations, and clambered down to the level of the old lake, where there was a nice big tree providing us with shade whilst we refueled with biscuits, ready for the hike back.
We hiked back along the same route. The hike was about 10km in total (according to Stacey’s GPS), and we returned to camp in time for lunch before heading back to TBI, tired, dusty, and ready for a much anticipated shower. The trip was great fun and a good introduction to many of the geological ideas we would cover over the next week and a half.