Michael Kristoff, Oldenburg, recently spent five weeks, July 3-Aug. 7, at an archaeology field school at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
The son of Steve Kristoff and Annette Gillman, a fifth-year senior at Purdue University who is studying social studies education and anthropology, says, “I have been interested in stone tool technology since I began studying anthropology about two years ago. Olduvai Gorge is one of the most important and famous archaeological sites in the world, so I could not pass up the opportunity to study there.
“The field school was part of the Olduvai Archaeology and Geochronology Project. It was run by Dr. Ignacio de la Torre, an archaeology professor from University College London, and Dr. Michael Pante, a zooarchaeologist from Colorado State University.
“There are two different types of stone tools found at Olduvai Gorge. Human ancestors from 1.84 to 1.65 million years ago used Oldowan stone tools, which were flakes chipped off of larger stones. Acheulean technology was being used from 1.66 million years ago up to around 100,000 years ago, and it is mostly known for the handaxes,” the Oldenburg Academy graduate points out.
“The field school gave me the opportunity to excavate at both Oldowan and Acheulean sites, survey the Olduvai Gorge landscape for possible new excavation sites and do lab work with the artifacts we were finding. The first two days were spent in Arusha getting research permits and supplies for our time at Olduvai, as well as learning more about the research” there.
“From Arusha, it was about a five-hour drive into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the Leakey Camp at Olduvai Gorge, where we spent the rest of our time. Along with graduate students from University College London, students from the University of Dar-es-Salaam and local members of the Maasai tribe were also working” on the project.