Location: Serengeti Plains , Tanzania
The transition from the earliest human culture, the Oldowan, to the more sophisticated Acheulean, is one of the most significant events in the evolution of human technology. Despite the importance of this technological transition, little is known about the biological and cultural evolutionary mechanisms underlying it. Traditionally, this major cultural shift has been linked with the emergence of Homo erectus, a species defined by its much larger brain and body size, while the transformation from Oldowan simple core-and-flake technology to Acheulean handaxes was viewed as a steady progression rather than a revolutionary change. However, these assumptions are not grounded in the current available evidence, but rooted in cultural- history paradigms that are only now being tested. The Olduvai Gorge Archaeology Field School will collect fresh data on the emergence of the Acheulean at Olduvai and contribute to ongoing research being conducted by an international multidisciplinary team of researchers, the Olduvai Geochronology and Archaeology Project (OGAP).
Period(s) of Occupation: Pleistocene
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program
Room and Board Arrangements
Students will camp at the historical field compound built by Mary Leakey on the rim of the gorge, at walking distance from many of the sites in Olduvai Gorge. This is a rustic but comfortable camp and students will share facilities with the entire research team. There is no running water at camp so students are encouraged to bring solar shower bags for personal use. Limited power is available for charging electronic devices, such as flashlights, phones, and computers. There are separate outhouse facilities for men and women that are cleaned daily by the project’s support staff.
All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious but basic food in the tradition of local cousin. Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are difficult to maintain in this remote location. Vegetarian may attend but will find options fairly limited.
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