Join archaeologists and other specialists investigating the deep roots of human behaviour in Africa

When did humans first start to use complex stone tools - tools made of more than one part - and why does it matter? Well, we are on a journey to find out and we hope you will check in and follow our progress. We will be reporting directly from the field - and the lab - as our four year project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain, unfolds

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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 […]

Harsh words?  Depends on your circumstances. In my case, these words on my temporary visa are a welcome relief. It’s definitely time to wind up and leave. The digging is over; everyone’s gone except me and Chris (my PhD student).  We’re doing essential end of project work.  Washing, labelling, and listing artefacts for the export […]

Archaeological fieldwork, like any job, has its routines. The morning routine begins the night before with planning the lunch for the day to come, charging the many batteries of the digital world (even for Damien – see earlier blog) and writing up fieldnotes to devise a strategy to follow. Morning comes which means making sure […]

An ‘embedded technologist’.  What’s that when he’s at home?  Well, we’ve had one with us and he’s the best in the business. Karl Lee returned to the UK earlier this week, but during his brief time here he opened our eyes to the importance of working with someone who not only makes stone tools, but […]

Funny how misunderstandings can lead to insights.   You say something but it’s mis-heard. Sometimes spectacularly so. That happened last week at Songwe Gorge and the mangled words have taken on a life of their own. Background The excavations have finally got underway after so many delays.  A three by two metre trench was laid out, […]

Double rainbow at Victoria Falls It’s the end of the first week of the 2018 season and “expect the unexpected” pretty much sums up the last 10 days. Very little has gone to plan, right from the start. On arrival last Wednesday all the excavation kit was impounded by Customs.  I was asked for a […]

…It’s off to Zambia we go. Again. The second season of the ‘Deep Roots’ archaeological project starts in a few days with a new team of students from the UK and Zambia along with specialist support arriving later on. We’ll be back at the World Heritage site of Victoria Falls building on last year’s work* […]

They say you shouldn’t go food shopping when you’re hungry because you buy impulsively. I’m now a firm believer in that piece of wisdom. More than two weeks after returning from Zambia, I’m still recovering from acute food poisoning that struck during the final few days of the project.  The culprit, I think, was a […]

Before Victoria Falls formed, the Zambezi River was very much like we see it today above the falls – wide and shallow.  But the old Zambezi was not where the Zambezi flows today. It has left remnants of its former presence 12-15m above the modern river in the National Park, and the gravels it left […]

Everything in archaeological investigations requires patience – and nothing more so than dating. While we waited for Geoff Duller to arrive we had to work quickly, but we knew also we had to make sure we were digging in areas that would be most relevant to dating the sands and their archaeological record.  No time […]