Fieldwork projects (South Africa)
- P5 Pondoland Coastal Foraging and Lifeways project
This project explores the origins and development of coastal foraging practices along South Africa’s Wild Coast. The project involves excavation, lithic analyses, landscape/raw material surveys, GIS predictive modelling, and paleoenvironmental modelling.
Project directors: Erich Fisher (Arizona State University), Justin Pargeter, Hayley Cawthra (Council for Geosciences, South Africa) and Irene Esteban (University of Witwatersrand).
Project Funders: National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Templeton Foundation.
Links: @P5Project; https://www.facebook.com/pfiveproject/
- Cango Valley Archaeology and Paleoscape Project:
This project explores human-environment interactions through the late Pleistocene and Holocene at Boomplaas Cave in South Africa’s Cango Valley. The research brings high-resolution excavations, paleoenvironmental analyses, new dates, and lithic data to bear on long-standing questions about the connection between coastal and inland foraging communities and their evolving social and ecological landscapes.
Project directors: Justin Pargeter and Leesha Richardson (University of Cape Town).
Project Funders: Paleontological Scientific Trust (South Africa)
- Redating the southern African Middle to Later Stone Age transition
This project uses high-resolution AMS radiocarbon dates from sites across southern Africa to explore temporal patterning in archaeological signatures associated with southern Africa's Middle to Later Stone Age transition.
Project directors: Justin Pargeter, Peter Mitchell (Oxford University), Emma Loftus (Cambridge University), Brian Stewart (University of Michigan) and Alex Mackay (University of Wollongong)
Project Funders: European Research Council, PAST Foundation (South Africa)
Experimental archaeology projects (North America)
- Experimental Approaches to Understanding Stone Tool Technological Variability and Prehistoric Hunting Technologies
This project uses state of the art experimental approaches to understand variations in stone tool production strategies and the efficacy of various prehistoric hunting technologies. It combines functional experimentation with use-wear analyses to generate more holistic understandings for why prehistoric technologies vary and their evolutionary implications.
Project collaborators: Metin Eren (Kent State University), Paloma de la Peña (University of the Witwatersrand), Patrick Schmidt (Tuebingen University)
Project Funders: National Science Foundation
- Palaeolithic Social Transmission and Lithic Technologies
This project's objective is to foster continued collaborations devoted to addressing current limitations in the study of social learning and technology in hominin evolution. Working through the Palaeolithic Social Transmission (PaST) research network, the project brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers working on different periods and at different sites with the purpose of developing a multi-site experimental collaboration with standardized methods of experimental research design, data collection, and analysis.
Project collaborators: Kathryn Ranhorn (Arizona State University), Samantha Porter (University of Minnesota), Annie Melton (University of Minnesota), Dietrich Stout (Emory University), Gil Tostevin (University of Minnesota), John Shea (Stony Brook University), Luke Premo (Washington State University), Jayne Wilkins (Griffith University, Australia), David Braun (George Washington University), Mark Moore (University of New England, Australia),
Project Funders: Cultural Evolution Society
- Individual Variation, Plasticity, and Learning in Human Brain Evolution
Ongoing research examining the hypothesis that technological learning is enabled by increased plasticity in prefrontal-parietal-temporal association networks. We test this model using a multidisciplinary approach, integrating expertise in neuroscience, informatics, lithic technology, and educational psychology
Project directors and collaborators: Dietrich Stout (Emory University), Erin Hecht (Harvard University), Katherine Bryant (Radboud University, Netherlands), Todd Preuss (Emory University), Justin Pargeter, David Gutman (Emory University)
Project Funders: National Science Foundation
Community outreach and science communication projects
- Archaeology in Action comics project
In South Africa, most approaches to archaeological community engagement and outreach focus on changes to museum programs and university curricula. These programs have limited impact on South Africa’s rural populations living far from museums and with limited funds to attend universities. To address these issues, the Archaeology in Action comics project works with science communication specialists Jive Media Africa to produce and disseminate bilingual (English and isiXhosa) archaeology comic materials (comic books, activity worksheets, and animations). The comics communicate information about archaeology to South African primary and high school students. All materials are freely available online and through a pilot distribution program at our research project’s base in rural parts of Pondoland, South Africa. Our project speaks to South Africa’s rapidly changing social landscape allowing primary and secondary level students to instrumentalize archaeology to explore and debate their pasts.
My So-Called Lab is a collaborative multi-media space for women scientists to talk to other women scientists about their work. The platform provides a space to share interviews, lab selfies, and news and information about women scientists. Funded by @US.NSF.
Project collaborators: Erin Hecht (Harvard University), Katherine Bryant (Radboud University, Netherlands)
Links: https://www.mysocalledlab.com/; https://www.facebook.com/mysocalledlab/; @MySoCalledLab
- Stone Tool Training and Analysis Website Project
This is a project aims to provide online stone tool training in indigenous languages to students from developing nations. The goal is to translate the website's content (3D lithic models, interactive tutorials, and in-depth content) into Swahili, Chichewa, and Zulu with a potential audience of > 100 million.
Project collaborators: John Shea (Stony Brook University), the project started in collaboration with the Stony Brook University Center for Teaching and Learning Technologies.
- Experimental Archaeology Blog
This blog is dedicated to experimental archaeology and is meant as a resource to all who study it. The site, although new, aims to bring together diverse resources of all forms (papers, audio, visual, results etc) on experimental archaeology for easy and free access for researchers, students, and interested members of the public from around the world.