Base camp Koobi Fora: Day 29 – 34

July 9 – July 14, 2022.

July 9. We arrived back at base camp in Koobi Fora for the remainder of the research. Unloading the lorry soon and setting up tents. Lunch will be very late today. At least 3pm until lunch. Went to the lake for a while to swim, relax and just not work. We all enjoyed the extra time in the evening to write or record data. Tomorrow is the field.

July 10, 2022. Morning breakfast had mandazis and oatmeal. Then we loaded up for site 102, an area we were tasked with surveying for any mammal or crocodile fossils. We found nothing but bivalves, Gastropoda and fish. The geology of the area was amazing. Pictures below.

Some of the student researchers.
Fish bone fossil and a Gastropod fossil.
Fish vertebrae fossil.
Bivalves with my foot for scale.
Really cool sedimentary rock.

July 11, 2022. Today is a Monday, a fact I discovered this morning. During the field research there is little to no concept of “Day of the Week.” Actual dates are far more productive and notable. Since there is no distinction between a weekday and a weekend, it should have occurred to me I should not try to discern the difference between a Saturday or a Wednesday. Nonetheless we will all become synchronized once we reach Nanyuki and Nairobi at the end of our work. We are going to survey the middle Holocene for artifacts of early pastoralism. Pictures to follow for how this survey gets conducted. We are located at a High lake stand in the early Holocene area right now. Full of bivalves, fish, bone harpoons, and pottery with wavy lines

Pottery found
Dessert flowering cactus

July 12, 2022. Another survey looking for Holocene artifacts. We found a few pieces of pottery but nothing hugely significant at our main site. On the way to the site we walked through an abandoned boma that looked in great shape. We took a waypoint using the gps unit so we can visit it at a later time with with equipment needed for that type of work. The afternoon is data entry time or work on lesson plans. Maybe a dip in the alkaline lake will be in order too. Yep I went swimming again to cool off. The water temperature feels colder each time I go to the lake. This is an indication that my body is further adapting to the day time heat. I still sweat liters of water each day, but the perceived heat temp is lessening. Please be aware that it is still hot here; very warm during the day and in direct sun.

Chelle and I were able to get some work done too. However in order to work on a document I needed to share a google doc online with Chelle and she needed to download it for offline work. Signal at base camp is not east to find. We have walk around in a grassy raised area behind the tents and hope we pick up a weak signal. See pic of Chelle and I walking around trying to find signal to hotspot my phone so her computer would have wifi. Pic won’t upload. I’ll update with photo later

Dessert Rose

July 13, 2022. Today will be a long day traveling 2-3 hours one way for a few hours work then back to camp. We have a few new Bomas to map out and a long road trip to the Karari (the location we could not stay at due to the well being broken) for another Boma of interest. The drive to Karari is about 2 hours and located at the boarder of Kenya and Ethiopia. So you can imagine how long of a day this will be….12 hour work day. Hopefully I can get some pictures of the Karari area as it is supposed to be an oasis in the desert. UPDATE. We got sidetracked when we located another abandoned Boma and decided to survey it. It was so incredibly hot today as we spent all day in the sun collecting data. We never made it to the Karari due to our work running very late. The long work day had A LOT of drive time.

July 14, 2022. Students here stay with a single research project while here. However Chelle and I have the unique opportunity to work with several projects in order to develop varied lessons. This has proven challenging navigating different research methods, topics and schedules. Despite the difficultly in changing projects every now and then, I am absolutely loving it. After working for several hours we took a break for Chelle to wash some clothes in the lake (we must be there in pairs for safety) so I went for company then decided to swim for a bit. This was late afternoon or early evening time so we had plenty of time to relax afterward and do individual work until supper was served. Sunrise pic updated below later.