Monday, June 10, 2013

Getting the job done

I have decided to start this blog so as to open up discussion on the many topics that are constantly being published about our evolution. I'm hoping that we can discuss these and our own fieldwork and the results of that work. There is a lot to cover so please keep visiting! I also want to give a flavour of the day-to-day work that is involved behind all this work that ends up in a few thousand words of a paper - the stuff that doesn't get into the "Methods" section. I thought I'd start with this and tell you what we've been up to today.

We've just started our summer excavation season here in Gibraltar. In June we will be excavating Vanguard Cave. This cave was occupied by the Neanderthals. We're not sure for how long just yet - that's part of the reason why we're excavating here. Vanguard Cave lies just at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, at the base of a 426-metre (1492 ft) cliff. Logistics are a problem and sometimes it is easier to transport heavy kit by boat than bringing it down the cliffs. Today we had to set up a sieving station and we had to get two 100-kg containers onto the site. These were brought by boat but the rocky shore prevented the boat from getting in too close.

So what we did was to get Gerry and Darren from our underwater archaeology team to get into the water and safely guide the tied containers ashore where others from the team were waiting to haul them ashore and onto the chosen location where they will live for the next two months. The following pictures speak for themselves.

Above: both in place and ready for action...but the pumps and hoses needed to be brought down the cliff...

So that's all in a day's work! The pic above gives an impression of the scale of the cave. Keep visiting and I'll mix living experiences such as this one with more general topics. And who knows what we'll be finding in the caves during this summer season!


  1. Great blog Clive! Looking forward to following you and the team's progress!

  2. Hi,
    I've just discovered your blog ,
    And can't wait for more information to come from your groups dig.
    What an awsome and difficult place to work.

  3. Great stuff, excellent photos- will keep checking the blog to see what's going on. Nice shots of Darren and Gerry doing a bit of good honest grafting!

  4. Hi Clive,
    It's really great to see you are blogging, will read with interest. If you're not on Twitter already, it's an excellent way to spread the word about it, and engage in conversation with colleagues & others. I heard about it on there!
    Best wishes
    Becky Wragg Sykes

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thanks Becky, will try and get this on twitter. Thanks for the suggestion. Off to the caves right now!

  7. Good to come across this blog. For early speculation on Neanderthal - modern human connections in Spain, see The Silk Code

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