Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York, Queens College, City U. of
Grant numberGr. 9428
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitlePlummer, Dr.Thomas W., City U. of New York, Queen's College, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Excavation of 2.7-2.5 Million Year Old Oldowan Archaeological Sites at Nyayanga, Kenya'
THOMAS W. PLUMMER, City University of New York, Queen’s College, New York, New York, received funding in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Excavation of 2.7-2.5 Million Year Old Oldowan Archaeological Sites at Nyayanga, Kenya.’ Research at the ca. 2.6 Ma Oldowan locality of Nyayanga had two primary goals, both of which were met. The first was to expand the excavated sample of stone tools and fauna to elucidate the overall adaptive significance of early Oldowan technology at the locality, by reconstructing the habitats artifacts were deposited in, lithic transport dynamics, and the functions of early stone tools. The second was to work with farmers bordering the gully system to protect the sites from destruction by erosion and human activity. Three excavations (Excavations 3, 5 and 6) recovered well preserved fossils in direct association with stone tools, including a hippopotamus skeleton in Excavation 3. Bones with stone tool damage have been found on the surface and appear to be present in the unprepared bones in the excavated sample. The repeated association of megafauna and stone tools is striking, and may indicate that hominins were having at least occasional access to large quantities of meat. Nyayanga has provided the only hominin fossils (a surface collected Paranthropus tooth, and a partial hominin tooth found in situ in Excavation 3) from the Homa Peninsula. The latter hominin is the oldest in direct spatial association with stone tools.