The WTAP has been searching for evidence of human origins buried in sediments on the western shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya since 1996, and I became the Director in 2012. WTAP’s major scientific goal is to shed new light on the behavioural evolution and adaptations of our early human ancestors – Australopithecus and early Homo – and to reconstruct the habitats in which they lived. Each year we camp alongside traditional communities in the remote Turkana landscape where we face many challenges including scarce drinking water, punishing heat, rough terrain, and no telecommunications. Our work has resulted in the excavation of many unique and important archaeological sites rich in the stone tools used and left behind by our ancestors, and fossilised bones. We recently discovered and published on the earliest traces of early human technology known from anywhere in the world, found at the 3.3 million year old site of Lomekwi 3. These discoveries are a major contribution towards scientific understanding of when, how, and why humanity evolved in the African Great Rift Valley.
You can learn more about the WTAP, see photos of the team in the field, and get updates about our ongoing work on our website, Facebook page, and Instagram.
All of the archaeological material that is excavated in Kenya remains in Kenya. Fossil and stone tool collections recovered by the WTAP are stored at the National Musems of Kenya and at the Turkana Basin Institute, Turkwel. I spend time throughout the year at these institutions studying the stone tools that we find in order to understand how they were made and what they can tell us about hominin behavior.