And then there was one

A strange silence.  Chatter, laughter,  listening –  gone.  No more planning of meals.  No more writing bedtime notes.  And no more sharing a fire with friends and new acquaintances.  It’s over.

Except, that is, for memories, and images.  Oh, and finalising the export of the artefacts. That’s tomorrow’s chore.

Tonight, I’ve been invited to join a group of 15 British students and their teachers for dinner.  They’ve been trekking across Zambia, learning self-reliance, and sharing.

The kitchen is buzzing, but not with our crew.  [Our bags of half-used spices, oil and onions need clearing, another chore for tomorrow.] The students were here a few weeks ago, taking turns cooking.  Not enough pans. Burnt rice.  Stress all ‘round.  Never mind.  Everyone’s polite, supportive of the smoky slop. We watched, our plates full, garlic bread on the side, and felt sorry.

Just one of many fresh memories.

Night’s like this remind me of how little we can know of the past.  Rhythms of day-to-day life vanish in an instant.  And memories fade over generations. Our job is to take the long view.  Set aside the intimate, focus on the blur of decisions that got us here. Technology is our pathway.

Memories  from the final week:

Taking samples for dating and environmental analysis:

Geoff at Songwe

Geoff and his tubes for sampling sands for dating


Simms recording Sumiko, Marcus and Geoff samplling at the very base of the sand scarp


Nice section

Neat section in the sands – big hole for dating sample and small holes for environmental samples

Prof and pXRF

New toy – portable x-ray to detect changes in trace elements

ZNBC interview

Sumiko being filmed for Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation documentary on the Deep Roots project

Chris and Fergus

Chris with Fergus Cochrane, British High Commissioner, at Songwe Gorge

The ‘sexy point’ – not my name for this Middle Stone Age tool found in the sand scarp.

Sexy point


Use-wear analysis is cool for cats

Damien works

Damien at work recording a spread of artefacts in the sands on the final day

And where we threatened to throw Damien, more than once…

Damien's destination

At the croc farm outside Livingstone – good too for snakes

Mr Ken

Looking ahead to Kalambo Falls 2019 and working with Ken, our ‘headman’

One thought on “And then there was one

  1. Mom has been asking me “how deep is that hole Larry is digging/” Now I know. Awesome photos. Now get gone. Your Bro.


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About Larry Barham

My name is Larry (Lawrence if I’m feeling formal) Barham and I'm a Professor of African Archaeology at the University of Liverpool, England, teaching evolutionary anthropology at undergraduate and postgraduate level.