East African Research Projects

photograph of early human brow ridge from Olorgesailie, Kenya, 900,000 years old

East African Research Projects

Image of catwalk around the site of Olorgesailie.

Fieldwork at the Olorgesailie site, in cooperation with the National Museums of Kenya, seeks to understand the life and times of early humans in the East African Rift Valley over the past 1 million years.

Image of site at Kanjera, Kenya.

Digs at Kanjera, western Kenya, show that the oldest known stone toolmakers lived in a variety of habitats, including a grassland environment at this site. Find out about the research here.

Image of the site at Kanam, Kenya.

Smithsonian research with the National Museums of Kenya has explored the fossil layers at Kanam, located on the Homa Peninsula, western Kenya. Dated more than 6 million to about 3 million years old, the oldest layers fall in the time of the earliest human ancestors. New work at the site will focus on one of the most interesting, and controversial, periods in human evolution.

Image of scientist taking notes at Ol Pejeta.

What can modern animal bones tell us about the past? A lot! This research project, set in a Kenyan wildlife conservancy, explores how studying modern animal bones can help us reconstruct habitats and predation at fossil sites.

 The Olorgesailie Drill rig on a grassland surrounded by acaia trees with Mt. Olorgesailie in the distance

Drilling cores from ancient lake sediments at early human sites represents the leading edge of research on environmental change and human evolution. Over the months to come, follow here the development of this new approach.