Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Alex and Hayley return

Alex Vokes and Hayley Jedrzejewski have just returned from a five week secondment in Libya working with a team of specialists on one of the world’s top ten prehistoric caves.

The cave, called the Haua Fteah, is located on the lowest sea-facing escarpment of the Gebel Akhdar (the Green Mountain) of Cyrenaica. The Cyrenaican Prehistory Project, of which the Haua Fteah excavation forms part, is directed by Professor Graeme Barker of the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, Dr Chris Hunt of Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Tim Reynolds of the University of London with funding from a European Research Grant and the Society for Libyan Studies. The project is supported by the Department of Antiquities of Libya and by the staff and students of Omar Muchtar University Al Baida.
HayleyHayley and AlexAlex
The team is re-investigating the Haua Fteah cave some sixty years after the site was first investigated by Charles McBurney of Cambridge University. The 14m deep trench of the early 1950s has been emptied and the team has been throwing new science at the exposures, pushing the story of the Hau back over 150,000 and perhaps 200,000 years. The Haua Fteah is now an ‘Out of Africa’ cave with a sequence extending back to the origins of Early Modern Man. Our Libyan colleagues now call the Haua, ‘Umm Al Arth’ – Mother of the World.

Alex helped to set up this season’s environmental processing facility and has run the facility almost single-handed, whilst Hayley supervised the gargantuan task of processing and recording finds generated by the excavation.



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