Field School Review – Koobi Fora

Koobi Fora Field School, Kenya. George Washington University.

By Avalon

When: Mid June to Mid July

“If you like ____, you’ll love this field school”:  palaeoanthropology

Cost: The cost is roughly $5,500. This includes meals and tuition fees, as you will be earning credits upon completion of a final exam.

Living conditions:: Aside from your initial arrival in Nairobi, the entire length of this field school will be spent living in your own tent (which is seriously awesome!) This being the case, make sure you do not over pack, as you won’t want to be too crowded in your little space. Bathrooms are outhouse-style in most of the places you will visit, though the Koobi Fora Base Camp has typical bathroom facilities. Showering can be done in the bathrooms as well, though the vast majority of us (myself included) chose instead to bathe in nearby Lake Turkana. There is no internet and you will spend most of your time outside. Pack a few extra snacks; meals are three times a day and fairly bland (little to no meat or fresh veggies, lots of beans and canned goods). If you’re not willing to part with technology and rough it in the wild, this is not the field school for you.

The Team: There were about 30 students all told when I attended, and even more field staff, ranging in backgrounds from primatology to paleontology to archaeology. Most of the students are between 17 to 25 years of age. You don’t need any previous experience in palaeoanthropology or field schools to get involved, thought I would recommend it.

Culture: The field school is set on a rotating schedule, in which the students will be broken into two or more teams that visit various places across the landscape. Not far from the Base Camp is Ileret, where you will meet many of the local Dassanech people. The locals are extremely friendly and will want to sell you trinkets such as bracelets and cloth; feel free to make exchanges. The children can be overwhelmingly enthusiastic, but they are so much fun to play with. You can even volunteer to visit them in the nearby schools and donate things you have brought, such as pens and clothing. Most of the field school is spent learning about human evolution through fields such as taphonomy and archaeology. Some archaeological field work will be expected. Every day will be a learning experience.

Best Thing: Every day was an exciting new day, and I learned a lot!

Worst Thing: Running out of sunscreen 😛 Bring extra!!!

Where to go for more information and applications: http://cashp.gwu.edu/kffs/

 

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