Susino, George James, U. of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa - To aid research on 'Optical Dating of Quartz Microdebitage from Archaeological Deposits of Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa'
DR. GEORGE JAMES SUSINO, then a student at University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Optical Dating of Quartz Microdebitage from Archaeological Deposits of Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.' This research addresses several key problems related to the understanding of archaeological site formation processes. In recent years, the reliance on sedimentary layers for chronological analysis of archaeological sites has been problematic. Site deposit disturbance is difficult to quantify, and archaeology has adopted several strategies for dating events within the stratigraphy. The most common is to date the terminus post quem, or the location of the lowest artefact (regardless of the movement of the material in the deposit). This research redresses these methodological problems by direct dating of remnant artefactual material (quartz microdebitage) and sedimentary quartz separately with optical dating techniques as to discern differences in age between the sedimentary and artefactual material. The OSL chronologies are then correlated with the extensive age determination achieved by other dating techniques (Radiocarbon and OSL on sediments). The Sibudu Cave site was selected primarily for the ready availability of sediment samples collected previously for optical dating and for the site importance for the understanding of changes within lithic technology from Early Stone Age to Late Stone Age. This research will apply a rigorous test for the validity of the chronology of lithic typologies at Sibudu Cave, and as a test of direct dating of artefactual material as opposed to the dating of sedimentary layers.
D'Andrea, A. Catherine, Simon Fraser U., Burnaby, BC, Canada - To aid 'Ethnoarchaeological Studies of Sorghum, Middle Nile Basin, Sudan'
DR. CATHERINE A. D'ANDREA, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, received funding in June 2004 to aid 'Ethnoarchaeological Studies of Sorghum, Middle Nile Basin, Sudan.' Anthropological field research in the Mahas region of northern Sudan was designed to investigate ancient and modern Sudanese crop and food processing techniques, emphasizing sorghum-based foods. These issues were examined through ethnoarchaeological interviews of Mahas farmers and sampling for archaeological plant remains at the Meroitic site of Dangeil, near Atbara. The persistence of traditional farming practices in the Mahas coupled with the recent introduction of mechanised equipment makes this a fascinating ethnoarchaeological study on its own, but it also provides an interesting comparison with recently completed studies in Ethiopia. Interviews documented impacts of the discontinuation of old technology and introduction of new implements, as well as a concomitant decline in the traditional knowledge base associated with sorghum and other indigenous crops. The social contexts of food storage, processing, and baking were documented by mapping modern and abandoned residential compounds and noting the location of food processing and related activities, including an in-depth study of griddle bread-baking technology. Ancient residues of crop processing and bread baking were sampled from a temple bakery at Dangeil, focussing on seeds, starch grains, and microscopic plant silica skeletons. These archaeobotanical samples will provide useful archaeological correlates to the ethnoarchaeological data collected in the Mahas.
Waweru, Dr. Veronica Njoki, Stony Brook U., Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'Chronology of Holocene Innovations and Inventions in West Turkana, Kenya'
DR. VERONICA N. WAWERU, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, was awarded a grant in October 2009 to aid research on 'Chronology of Holocene Innovations and Inventions in West Turkana, Kenya.' Chronology data from this research provide better resolution for dates of innovations in West Turkana between 8.2ka and 0.87ka. The Holocene marks the introduction of domestic fauna in a region that until ~5ka relied on a hunting/gathering/fishing subsistence base. A combination of Thermoluminescence (TL) and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) methods were used to refine the timeline for innovations at different paleo-habitats in West Turkana. The study confirms existing dates for the large fishing village of Lothagam and also yields older dates for the Later Holocene lacustrine sites of Lopoy and Napedet than previously known. Aggregate data from the Holocene in the Turkana Basin is uninformative about whether local hunter/fishers adopted pastoralism or if demic movements brought the new socio-economic package of domesticate fauna and pillar-building. Chronology data from this research and that of other scientists in the last 40 years point to the existence of a mixed strategy involving hunting, fishing, and use of small domestic stock up to the very late Holocene. Niche partitioning may explain the existence of multiple economic strategies where different social groups pursued varied subsistence strategies while maintaining exchange relations involving ceramics and domestic stock. Future research will seek to answer this question.
Hildebrand, Dr. Elisabeth, Stony Brook U., NY - To aid workshop on 'From Fishers to Herders: Holocene Subsistence Intensification in the Turkana Basin,' 2008, East Hampton, NY, in collaboration with Dr. Richard Leakey
'From Fishers to Herders: Holocene Subsistence Intensification in the Turkana Basin'
October 13-18, 2009, East Hampton, New York
Organizers: Elisabeth Hildebrand and Richard Leakey (Stony Brook University)
The sixth in a series of Human Evolution Workshops organized by the Turkana Basin Institute and Stony Brook University, this meeting brought together 20 scholars (including graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and senior scholars) from Kenya, Ethiopia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Core themes for discussion included contemporary diversity among early Holocene hunter-gatherers around Lake Turkana, the beginnings of herding in northwest Kenya, and the development of social complexity among local herders. Participants evaluated current paleoenvironmental records for the basin, critiqued existing chronological sequences, and suggested ways to improve both. Several archaeologists compared trajectories of social change in Holocene Turkana with those in other parts of Africa (central and western Kenya, the Sahara, Ethiopia, and coastal Eritrea), encouraging all participants to consider Turkana research in a broader geographical and anthropological framework. Senior and junior scholars together devised strategies to refine research efforts around the lake, push new investigations into surrounding areas, and ensure future collaboration between research teams.
Logan, Dr, Amanda, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid engaged activities on 'Histories of Food, Home, and Field: Celebrating Women's Knowledge and Sustainable Choices in Banda, Ghana,' 2014, Banda, Ghana
DR. AMANDA LOGAN, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, was awarded funding in February 2014 to aid engaged activities on 'Histories of Food, Home, and Field: Celebrating Women's Knowledge and Sustainable Choices in Banda, Ghana.' Building on research supported by a Wenner-Gren grant in 2010, this engagement project involved the presentation of long-term histories of food, home, and field to the community of Banda, Ghana. After several weeks of community consultation, a 'Remembering the Past Celebration' was held at the Banda Cultural Centre in July 2014. The intent was to generate interest in the past to help bridge generational divides, highlight women's knowledge, and de-stigmatize certain practices associated with poverty. The event included five poster displays interpreted by trained historical ambassadors that focused on what can be learned from the past; an Olden Times Food Fair, with fourteen different dishes prepared by local women; and potters, spinners, weavers, and carvers making their crafts. Attendance was much higher than expected, with an estimated 400 people in attendance. Several focus groups were held after the event in order to stimulate conversation on what can be learned from the past, which practices should and should not be revived, and how best to disseminate and promote knowledge about the past. In the short term, a Heritage Farmers group was formed to experiment with 'lost' crops, and a Banda Heritage Facebook page was launched.
Muia, Mulu, U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL - To aid research on 'Changes in Lithic Technology and Origin of Modern Human Behavior in Ntuka, Southwest Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose
MULU MUIA, then a student at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, was awarded funding in February 2005 to aid research on 'Changes in Lithic Technology and Origin of Modern Human Behavior in Ntuka, Southwest Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose. The grant was used: 1) to expand excavations at two sites (GvJh11 and GvJh12) that had been excavated extensively previously, but whose sample size was small; and 2) to carry out new excavations at three other sites (GvJh21, GvJh78 and GvJh81) that had been test excavated. Artifacts recovered were made mostly of obsidian, lava and cherts. Faunal remains were limited mostly to teeth. Analysis of the artifacts sought to understand the process of technological change from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) to the Later Stone Age (LSA). The first step in the analysis focused on recording the various tool classes (the typology) and the raw materials so that the diversity of both in the MSA and LSA can be quantified. To understand raw material procurement strategies, all pieces were examined for cortex. Metric dimensions (length, width, and thickness) for all finished tools were recorded using electronic calipers. Flakes were examined for platform preparation by recording the presence or absence of facets. Where facets were present, they were counted. Platform width, thickness, and angle were recorded to identify flaking techniques.
Rosso, Daniela Eugenia, U. Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - To aid research on 'Technological and Physicochemical Characterization of MSA Pigments from Porc-Epic Cave (Dire Dawa, Ethiopia),' supervised by Dr. Francesco D'Errico
Preliminary abstract: We will apply novel methodology to the analysis of the pigments and pigment processing tools from Porc-Epic cave (Dire Dawa, Ethiopia) with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the emergence of pigment related technology in this region, evaluating its complexity, and discussing the implications of our results for the debate on the origin of 'behavioural modernity'. Porc-Epic is a Middle and Later Stone Age cave site. Research conducted during our Master's has highlighted that this site has yielded the richest collection of pigments in quantity thus far, and a variety of processing tools. Porc-Epic is one of the rare Palaeolithic sites at which most of the stages of pigment treatment can be recorded. Contextual, mineralogical, colorimetric, morphometric, technological, and functional information will be recorded in a comprehensive database. We will analyze all the pigments and processing tools from the 1975-1976 excavations. They consist of 4233 lumps of red and yellow material, with traces of anthropogenic modification, and 23 processing tools. Pigments will be studied using Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy, XRF, μ-XRD, PIXE Spectrometry, and Raman spectroscopy. A petrographic analysis of the pigments and a survey of the area will be conducted to identify the geological sources.
Swanepoel, Dr. Natalie J., U. of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa - To aid 'Biennial Meeting of the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA),' 2011, Mbabane, Swaziland, in collaboration with Dr. Mary Thembiwe Russell
Preliminary abstract: The biennial meetings of the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists bring together professional archaeologists who live and work in southern Africa, as well as other international scholars whose research interests are centred on the sub-region. The conference provides an invaluable opportunity for these archaeologists to come together to discuss new finds and trends in the discipline with national and international colleagues and to build foundations for cooperative research and the sharing of ideas. Students benefit by interacting with senior members of the discipline. The conference attracts a diverse attendance from archaeologists based at universities, museums, in CRM practice, heritage management and government, thus ensuring the opportunity for real dialogue between practitioners with shared interests, who may not get the opportunity to meet otherwise. The conference programme includes oral and poster presentations, as well as round- table sessions to discuss issues relating to policy and practice. The scope of the conference covers the full span of southern African archaeology, including: current debates around human evolution and behavioural modernity, Stone Age population dynamics, social complexity, and the impacts of colonial settlement and culture contact. In addition, CRM practice, heritage management and the role of archaeology in southern Africa today are discussed.