Field Geology and Paleoanthropology in Tanzania
Due to concerns for the health and safety of IU students, the Paleoanthropology and Geology Field Course in Tanzania class is cancelled for summer 2020. We hope to be able to offer it again in summer 2021.
This program offers an exciting six-week study abroad experience in Tanzania at one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. During this intensive field course, you will learn the fundamentals of geological processes and develop skills in fossil and archaeological exploration through first-hand field experience. The course emphasizes field observations, data recording and interpretation with the goal of understanding physical and biological processes of site formation and human evolution. You’ll have the opportunity to conduct field experiments such as measuring stratigraphic sections, stone knapping and bone taphonomy. Our students work closely with the instructors and prominent scientists currently doing research at the Olduvai site to develop and carry out independent research projects.
Sites include archaeological sequences in Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli, Ngorongoro volcanic highlands, and rift escarpments. You will visit nearby paleoathropological sites at Laetoli (3.5 million years old hominin footprint site) and Peninj that provide an important contrast to those studied in the Olduvai sites. Field instruction will also take you to Serengeti National Park, where diverse savanna ecosystem provides important modern analogs for understanding the Plio-Pleistocene evolution of African vertebrates (including hominins) as well as evolution of grass plains.