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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Africa - Tanzania- Olduvai Field School - 2015

Africa - Tanzania- Olduvai Field School - 2015

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2015-07-08
End Date 2015-08-12

Archaeology Field School Location
Tanzania - Olduvai Gorge

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution
Institute for Field Research, University of London, Colorado State University, Connecticut College
Academic Credit
Attending students will be awarded 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units) through our academic partner, Connecticut College. Connecticut College is a private, highly ranked liberal arts institution. Students will receive a letter grade for attending this field school (see grading assessment and matrix, below). This field school provides a minimum of 192 direct instructional hours.
Archaeology Field School Tuition
$6,660; includes tuition, cost of credit units, and room & board.

Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs
Fee includes registration, accommodations, program activities, meals on workdays, and health insurance. Airfare, weekend meals and optional excursions are additional.

Archaeology Field School Description

The transition from the earliest human culture, the Oldowan, to the more sophisticated Acheulean, is one of the most significant events in the evolution of human technology. Despite the importance of this technological transition, little is known about the biological and cultural evolutionary mechanisms underlying it. Traditionally, this major cultural shift has been linked with the emergence of Homo erectus, a species defined by its much larger brain and body size, while the transformation from Oldowan simple core-and-flake technology to Acheulean handaxes was viewed as a steady progression rather than a revolutionary change. However, these assumptions are not grounded in the current available evidence, but rooted in cultural- history paradigms that are only now being tested. The Olduvai Gorge Archaeology Field School will collect fresh data on the emergence of the Acheulean at Olduvai and contribute to ongoing research being conducted by an international multidisciplinary team of researchers, the Olduvai Geochronology and Archaeology Project (; OGAP). Olduvai Gorge, in northern Tanzania, is internationally recognized for Louis and Mary Leakey’s famous discoveries of early humans and magnificent antiquities documenting the evolutionary history of our stone tool-using ancestors, vertebrate fauna, and the environments over the last two million years. Research at Olduvai began almost a century ago, producing an unparalleled wealth of archaeological and paleontological data for the study of some key phases of early human evolution. Olduvai was the first place where traces of an early stone tool culture were discovered, and gave the name to the Oldowan, nowadays considered as the earliest human technology. Olduvai is also one of the first sites in Africa where the earliest Acheulean was first discovered, and where the traditional view of the Oldowan-Acheulean transition was established. The disappearance of the earliest human culture, the Oldowan, and its substitution by a new technology, the Acheulean, is one of the main topics in modern Paleoanthropology. OGAP brings together an international team of archaeologists and geologists, whose main goal is to study the mechanisms that led to the origins of the Acheulean in Olduvai Gorge.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Time Period
Field School Setting/Conditions
Archaeological fieldwork at Olduvai Gorge is both physically and mentally demanding. You should be prepared for conditions that include extended camping, a lack of running water, and fluctuating temperatures that can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. The proximity of the site to the Equator and the high altitude increases the likelihood for sunburn. You will be required to wear a brimmed hat that protects your face and neck and sunblock at all times while excavating. Mosquitos are not common, but there is still some risk of contracting malaria in the region and all students will be required to take malaria prophylactics. You will also need a vaccination for yellow fever to enter the country and should consult your doctor for recommendations concerning other vaccinations. That being said Olduvai is a wonderful place to work and by taking the proper precautions you should not have a problem adapting to the daily routine.

Directors and Instructors
Dr. Ignacio de la Torre, University Collage London (; Dr. Michael Pante, Colorado State University (
Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn
The Olduvai Gorge Archaeology Field School has three primary objectives: 1) provide students with an integrative perspective on human evolution research that includes paleoecology, archaeology, geology, and taphonomy, 2) train students in state-of-the-art excavation and laboratory methods, and 3) familiarize students with research design and execution. The objectives will be met primarily through hands-on fieldwork, but also through lecture and instruction. Instruction: Students will receive formal lectures on the archaeological significance of Olduvai Gorge, introduction to taphonomy and zooarchaeology, and introduction to lithic analysis. Students will be assigned weekly readings and will discuss these readings with the field school staff in a seminar format. Excavation: Students will participate in excavation at three archaeological sites in Middle Bed II, HWK EE, FC West and MNK. They will also receive training in collecting 3-D positional data at the sites. Laboratory: Students will wash, label, and organize material from the excavations. Students will also collect standard measurements from the artifacts and fossils, and do data entry in customized Access databases. Survey: Students will conduct systematic surveys throughout Olduvai Gorge to find new archaeological sites.

Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Website:

Field School Contact Information

Ran Boytner

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