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1999 Field Season: Day 1

June 25, 1999

Today was Day One of the expedition, and the majority of the day was spent getting us and our supplies from Nairobi to the site. The most important thing in any expedition like this is always the vehicles. Outfitting a group of twenty-seven for excavation work, and living in the bush for several weeks takes a lot of equipment, and without vehicles in good enough condition to make the trip, you don't go anywhere. When we awoke this morning, the lorry that we had arranged to take our supplies out to Olorgesailie was not in Nairobi, and our other vehicles were late in returning from the mechanics. On to plan B...

Eventually, things worked out. We were able to secure a lorry for transport, and to get the other Land Rovers in serviceable condition, so we packed them up, and after some last-minute shopping, we headed out to the site in the early afternoon, only slightly behind schedule.

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Our lorry (the one we finally were able to commission) being secured for the road, just before our departure from the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi. It isn't rainy season here anymore, so the tarp isn't to protect against rain, but dust.

Everything from shovels, to our tents, to the charcoal we need to light our cooking fires is packed away in this vehicle, or one of the four field trucks we brought to the site. Food is bought weekly on supply runs from Nairobi.

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Man standing beside packed lorry in Nairobi, Kenya.
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Our lorry being secured for the road.

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Man standing beside packed lorry in Nairobi, Kenya.

We arrived at Camp Kampi Safi in the Olorgesailie Basin shortly before dusk, and set about transforming the quiet, dusty plain into the tent city that will be home to the team for the next ten weeks. Within a couple of hours the necessities of camp had been erected (our tents), and the camp cook King'ola Ndumbuki had already stoked up the fire. The rest of camp would have to wait until daylight tomorrow. We finished the day with a relaxing dinner out under the stars.

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Our tents being set up.

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Our tents being set up.
Our tents being set up.
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Our tents being set up.

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Our tents being set up.

Tomorrow brings the finishing touches on the camp, and an initial survey of the basin for the field season.

View inside a tent at Olorgesailie.