The students, staff, and Tom!

During the final few days of the TBI Origins Summer Field School, Dr. Sonia Harmand joined our students for an intensive introduction to Earlier Stone Age archaeology in the Turkana Basin. Dr. Harmand and SBU post-doctoral researcher Dr. Nicholas Taylor led everyone in a practical lesson on stone tool knapping. We started with knapping quartz pebbles, which was very challenging because the crystalline structure does not allow for the clean fracture patterns like other raw materials. After they had mastered quartz by producing a few useable flakes, Dr. Harmand allowed the students to use more easily worked materials such as phonolite. Phonolite is a volcanic rock that produces very sharp edges when broken, and has been used extensively in the region. The tools the students produced were so sharp that they were able to use them for our celebratory goat roast! On our last night we had a barbecue and one last evening all together as a field school family.

Petra and Ryan find an exciting Later Stone Age flake

Petra throws her stone to create even more force with which to fracture it

Ian uses the passive hammer percussion technique to fracture a large chunk of phonalite

Dr. Nick Taylor demonstrates proper knapping technique to Ian

Kelly made an excellent stone flake! Here she shows how it fits back together.

The students knap phonalite in the Turkana rain, while Tom the dog relaxes nearby

With that exciting finish to the academics, the Summer program was officially closed. All of the students received their certificates of completion and prepared to get on the plane back to Nairobi and beyond. We are all so proud and impressed by how much everyone has grown, and we cannot wait to see what everyone achieves in the future!