New Fieldwork in the Kenyan Rift

Geoffrey King spent a three-week field season in Kenya with Simon Kübler, Stephen Rucina from the National Museums of Kenya, and Peter Owenga from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.

The objectives of the research were to identify soils in the Rift and how they relate to the underlying geology and local climatic variation, to talk to
local people about variations in grazing quality for domestic and wild animals, and to examine faults and faulted landscapes in relation to hominin fossil and archaeological sites. The work concentrated on the region around the site of Olorgesailie, with briefer visits to Baringo.

The work has identified the bedrock geology as an important constraint on the availability of soils that have sufficient minerals to support healthy animals. This has important implications for those areas of the landscape that would have been attractive for wild animals and primary targets for human hunting and scavenging during the Pleistocene. This work is being followed up by interviews with Masai herdsmen and the collection of soil samples for laboratory analysis as in the accompanying photograph, with Peter Owenga (centre) and Simon Kübler (right)