Students have been busy in their last week of the Archaeology module that marked the end of the fall semester. They have learned a lot in class about making stone tools, and with the phonolite and rhyolite they collected while camping at Nariokotome, it was time to practice making tools. The exercise was not a walk in the park as it required skill, precision, good dexterity, and power when striking.

Stone tools provide evidence of hominin’s technological and biological development, because making stone tools requires mental cognition and manual dexterity. Students had fun joking with each other as they spent a lot of time trying to find the correct angles to strike. At the end of the day, we had enough sharp flakes to butcher our two goats.

Students busy knapping.


Dr. Harmand explains to Keely how she should hold her core.


Jack tries to find a good angle for the strike.


Pauline had everything under control.


Addie concentrates fully in an attempt to strike.


Dr. Harmand explains to Basil and Margaret how to strike and remove the cortex on the handaxe.

Our last field trip was to a Later Stone Age site called Aiyangyeng that sits at the edge of an ephemeral lake; part of the site was underwater because of the rains recently experienced in the area. Students flagged beautiful artifacts made of different raw materials. Dr. Harmand explained to the students that the site represented the later part of the Later Stone Age, as the artifacts present exhibited “microlithism” flaking from cores; the presence of decorated pot-sherds and ostrich eggshells signified the advent of modern human behavior.

Students at the Aiyangyeng site.


Dr. Harmand shows the students one of the microliths.


Beautiful flags showing the density and distribution of artifacts at the site.


We gathered at the roof-top terrace for the graduation ceremony. We were lucky to have Dr. Louise Leakey at the ceremony. She congratulated the 12 graduates whilst encouraging them to venture into the world of research, especially in the rich Turkana Basin which holds puzzles waiting to be solved. Our field school director, Wambui Mbogo, thanked the TBI staff and also congratulated the graduates on their great achievement.

We thank everyone who was involved in organizing and making the program a success! Special thanks to the Turkana Basin Institute and Stony Brook University for providing such opportunities for upcoming young scholars and researchers to learn and explore our human origins.

Congratulations Hillary


Congratulations Pauline


Congratulations Adalind


Congratulations Margaret


Congratulations Carrie


Congratulations Jack


Congratulations Tymofii


Congratulations Keely


Congratulations Mallika


Congratulations Basil


Congratulations Emmanuel


Congratulations Marlee


Congratulations Fall 2019 graduates!!!

Photo credits: Wambui Mbogo, Medina Lubisia, and Keely Winter.

Best wishes to the graduates on their next adventure!

Kwaherini, see you next time!