In December 2021, the West Turkana Archaeological Project (WTAP) in partnership with the Turkana Basin Institute, the National Museums of Kenya, and with support from the French government opened an exhibition in Nairobi to showcase the earliest stone tools in the world, found in Lomekwi, Turkana County in 2013.
In June 2022 the exhibition moved to Lodwar, where it is currently housed at Turkana University College’s amazing library building. The exhibition is open to the public and is designed to increase awareness of the diversity in Turkana’s incredible heritage.
The exhibition consists of beautiful panels, showcasing information about the Lomekwi tools and site, as well as background information on key paleoscience concepts such as the relationship between interesting artifacts, fossils and the geological methods used for dating.
All of the information is in English, Kiswahili and Turkana to increase accessibility. The exhibition shows everything that goes into a successful research project, from mentors, Hélène Roche and Richard Leakey, to the details of managing camp life and logistics.
In addition to the panels, there are interactive installations, stone tool replicas that the public are allowed to handle, providing a tactile connection with the hominids who made the tools millions of years ago. There are also video screens, showing the area around the Lomekwi site, illustrating the removal of a flake from a Lomekwian core and introducing key members of the WTAP team, especially Sammy Lokorodi – who found the first Lomekwian tool.
This exhibition is part of the CONFMAP project – Consolidating the Future Through Mastering the Past – led by Sonia Harmand. This project also supports higher education in the palaeosciences (paleontology, archeology, paleobotany, geology) with an emphasis on increasing access for marginalized groups.