Drimolen Field School
Drimolen palaeocave is one of the richest hominin bearing deposit in South Africa and has yielded over 140 fossils of Paranthropus robustus and early Homo as well as 1000s of fossils of a wealth of other species; including a vast collection of non-human primates. The site has also yielded evidence for early bone tool use and has an Mode 1 archaeological assemblage dated to between 2.0 and 1.4 Ma. Every year new hominin fossils have been found on the field school (run since 2013) at Drimolen. In 2015 this included a brand new hominin skull. Since 2014 students have also helped open up a new ~2.61 Ma fossil deposit containing a wealth of articulated partial skeletons, the Drimolen Makondo. In 2018 the field school discovered a number of new hominin skulls and a partial skeleton.
The field school includes training on excavation and survey at the site as well as trips to hominin, fossil and archaeological sites such as Swartkrans, Sterkfontein, Bolt’s Farm and Haasgat; trips to see original hominin fossils such as DNH 7 from Drimolen, Au. sediba, and many more; plus a safari to Pilanesberg National Park. Students also have lectures covering: Hominin evolution, the S. African Early-Middle and Later Stone Age, geochronology, geoarchaeology, S. African palaeontology and taphonomy. Trips were also made to Wonder Cave to learn about geology and exposure to the use of Ground Penetrating Radar analysis. The main focus of the field school is to introduce students to the South African hominin, fossil and archaeological record and to learn about the scientific study of caves.
The Drimolen Cave Field School will provide students with a hands-on introduction to methods of paleontology, geology and survey in a setting provided by one of the more important paleoanthropological sites in the Africa. The objective of the field school is to give students an introduction to everything they need to know about paleoanthropology in South Africa.