1999 Field Season: Day 21

July 15, 1999

This morning, we decided to take advantage of the continuing lack of dust from the rain of two days ago. The fossils on the surface of the ground were much more easily visible than the last time we did a survey on July 2. Today's survey concentrated on the gully that emanates from Hell Hole. This is an area of the basin that hasn't been surveyed in several years (due to the very rough terrain). A visitor to our site, Jillani Galla, from the Paleontology Department of the National Museums of Kenya, helped us out, giving us an extra set of eyes to scan the ground. We were able to find some interesting stone tools, including a beautiful Achulean handaxe, and a small partial cranium (part of the skull). Whether or not these indicate a major site will need to be determined on a more intensive follow-up visit.

An Acheulean handaxe found on the survey.

Muteti Nume on survey in the Hell Hole gully.

Site A11-10 has undergone two days of hand excavations now, and we're very pleased that all of the hard work has started paying off. The uppermost portion of our target sand (what we call Layer C) has been reached. So far, we have uncovered roughly 100 stone artifacts at the site, and several pieces of bone. One of the larger pieces of bone appears to be the hip of an antelope.

A hip bone uncovered at A11-10.

We may have spoken too soon yesterday when we said that Site B7/8-1 might be exhausted. In digging the rest of spit 9, we found a new concentration of stone tools (a quick count gave 30) and a total of three more bones. We now realize that the original trench should be extended in order to complete our understanding of the site. There are two bones embedded in the west wall of the trench, and one of the bones uncovered in this last spit extends beyond the boundaries of our trench, into the south wall. We plan to add an additional meter to our excavation in both directions. Of more immediate concern, we decided that a tenth spit was also necessary to be sure that we have indeed reached the lowest level of recoverable artifacts.

A long bone in the west wall of the trench.

Tomorrow we will return for a third lift at B7/8-1. The amount of material we are recovering and the close association of the artifacts and bones has made this site a pleasant surprise.