Susan Pfeiffer and recent PhD graduate Elizabeth Sawchuk’s research on pillar sites near Lake Turkana

Researchers at Stony Brook U, the home of the Turkana Basin Institute, anticipated that their excavation of a “pilar site” might encounter human remains. They recruited Pfeiffer to the 2012 field team. She, in turn, recruited Sawchuk who had just completed her Masters degree at U Alberta. This began a program of exploration that now includes a huge swath of eastern Africa, exploring mid-Holocene communities. The extent and complexity of “monumentality” among these apparent pastoralists is both impressive and unexpected.

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