Congratulations to our colleague Jim Russell!

Jim has been named as the 2020 AGU Dansgaard Awardee!

Congratulations to Rachel Lupien and colleagues for their new paper

"Abrupt climate change and its influences on hominin evolution during the early Pleistocene in the Turkana Basin, Kenya" published in Quaternary Science Reviews. This is publication #26 of HSPDP.

Congratulations to Georgia State University PhD student Francis Muchemi

Francis has been awarded a competitive $1500 student research grant from the Geological Society of America for his proposal titled "Middle Pleistocene Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of Southern Kenya Rift Based on Mineralogy and Geochemistry of a Continental Drill Core"!

Francis will use the funds to support his equipment and analytical laboratory costs, as he continues analysis of the Olorgesailie Drilling Project cores recovered by the Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program and the National Museums of Kenya, where he holds the title of Research Scientist. Francis' work is contributing to our understanding of climate and environmental change over the past million years, and how it affected human evolution.

Congratulations Chad Yost and colleagues for the publication of their new paper

"Phytoliths, pollen, and microcharcoal from the Baringo Basin, Kenya reveal savanna dynamics during the Plio-Pleistocene transition" just published in Palaeogeo., Palaeoclim. Palaeoecol! This is publication #25 of HSPDP.

HSPDP Film Online

A film from HSPDP/Chew Bahir Drilling Project Artist Julian Ruddock’s Earth Core 2A exhibition is online at as part of an online art-science conference
More of his Earth Core images at

Congratulations to HSPDP team member Kay Behrensmeyer, who has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences

Verena Foerster, Christian Zeeben and Annette Junginger are co-editing a special article collection for the  open access journal Frontiers in Earth Science

Integrating Paleoclimate, Stratigraphy, Sedimentology & Paleontology in Human Evolution and Dispersal Studies - from Early Hominines to the Holocene

Please see the link below for details.

2019 Chew Bahir Workshop

The 2019 Chew Bahir team workshop was just successfully completed. The meeting of team members was held at the Neanderthal Museum, outside of Düsseldorf, Germany. Photos of the meeting are posted under "Photos/Video-Photostream" of this website. The meeting was very successful in reviewing progress to date on the age model and geochemical, sedimentological and paleoecological data generated, and in charting plans for upcoming publications. Frank Schäbitz and Verena Foerster were excellent hosts for the evening events, a visit to the Neanderthal Museum displays (photos) near the discovery site of the first fossil Neanderthals. Frank led an outstanding field trip on the last day to the Eifel region to visit maar lakes and explore the late Quaternary volcanic history of this region of Germany.

Chad Yost has successfull completed his Ph.D. dissertation

titled "Phytoliths and microcharcoal from East African lake sediments used to reconstruct Plio-Pleistocene vegetation and hydroclimate." Congratulations to Chad on a job well done!

Johanna Kruger has successfully completed her MSc thesis,

titled "Ancient sedimentary DNA from extremely dry environments-astudy on two sediment cores from Lake Chew Bahir, Ethiopia." Congratulations to Johanna on a job well done!

Congratulations to Anne Billingsley and coauthors Paul Reinthal, David Dettman, John Kingston, Alan Deino, Kevin Ortiz, Benjamin Mohler, and Andrew Cohen for the acceptance of their paper

"δ13C records from fish fossils as paleo-indicators of ecosystem responses to lake levels in the Plio-Pleistocene lakes of Tugen Hills, Kenya." This paper will appear in the special BTB volume of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

Congratulations to Al Deino and coauthors Mark Sier, Dominique Garello, Brenhin Keller, John Kingston, Jenni Scott, Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, and Andy Cohen for the publication of their new paper

"Chronostratigraphy of the Baringo-Tugen-Barsemoi (HSPDP-BTB13-1A) core..." in Palaeo3.

Please see our Publications page for the link to the paper.

Anne Billingsley has successfully defended her dissertation,

titled "Pan-African climate variability since the Plio-Pleistocene and possible implications for hominin evolution." Congratulations to Anne on a job well done!

The Earth Images film "Climate of the Hominins," which tells the HSPDP story has started being aired at PBS affiliates around the US.

There is a link to more information at the Earth Image's website As of a few weeks ago it had been aired by a number of stations including KCET Los Angeles (2nd biggest market in US), KAWB Minneapolis, WEFS Orlando, WIPB Indianapolis, KUEN Salt Lake City, KET Kentucky, WPTD Ohio, and WCNY Syracuse!

"Climate of the Hominins" is also available to rent, stream, and buy on Amazon

Rachel Lupien has successfully defended her dissertation,

titled "The Plio-Pleistocene climate history of East Africa and the role of environmental change on human evolution: Studies of leaf lax isotopes from paleolake sediment" Congratulations to Rachel on a job well done!

Dominique Garello has successfully defended her dissertation,

titled "Tephrostratigraphy of Pliocene drill cores from Kenya and Ethiopia, and Pleistocene exposures in the Ledi-Geraru Research Project area, Ethiopia: Geological context for the evolution of Australopithecus and Homo." Congratulations to Dominique on a job well done!

Diatom 3D models from fossils collected from the HSPDP drill cores

HSPDP team member Joe Mohan (U. Maine) has uploaded diatom 3D models, available here:

Congratulation to Martin H. Trauth and coauthors Asfawossen Asrat, Walter Duesing, Verena Foerster, K. Hauke Kraemer, Norbert Marwan, Mark Maslin and Frank Schaebitz for the acceptance of their new paper

"Classifying past climate change in the Chew Bahir basin, southern Ethiopia, using recurrence quantification analysis in Climate Dynamics!"

See our publications page for the link to the paper.

A successful 4th Chew Bahir Project Workshop in Arba Minch, South Ethiopia (Nov. 10-12, 2018). You can read the report below.

The fourth annual Chew Bahir Project Workshop was held on 10-12 November 2018 at the Paradise Lodge in Arba Minch, southern Ethiopia, a town close to the Chew Bahir paleolake, one of the HSPDP drill sites. Twenty-one participants from Ethiopia, Germany, the UK and the USA attended the workshop, followed by a four-day excursion to Chew Bahir, Konso and the famous Omo Kibish paleoanthropological sites.
   Presentations and discussion first focused on geochronology and age modelling (Helen Roberts, Al Deino, Walter Duesing), tephrochronology (Christine Lane, Céline Vidal). The second session examined climate proxy records including numerical analysis of the XRF data (Martin Trauth), mineralogy (Daniel Gebregiorgis, Verena Főrster, Dan Deocampo), Sr Isotopes (Annett Junginger, Monika Markowska), biomarkers (Emma Pearson), DNA metabarcoding (Ralph Tiedemann) and water balance modelling (Markus Fischer). Frank Schäbitz presented the 200 ka record from the March 2014 central Chew Bahir core. In the final session, Matt Grove spoke about MSA chronological patterns, Asfawossen Asrat summarised his important work on speleothem records, and Mark Maslin held forth on wider aspects of climate and human evolution. The workshop ended with a general discussion of plans for publications and meetings, especially AGU, EGU and INQUA 2019. The next Chew Bahir Project meeting will be at the Neanderthal Museum in Dusseldorf, to be organised by Frank Schäbitz.
   The excursion to the Chew Bahir basin, particularly to the drill site, allowed participants to appreciate the impressive scale of the basin. The significance of the drilling location with respect to geological and geomorphological processes, including sediment input from the Weyto river delta and the alluvial fans at the foot of the Hammer range, was readily apparent. In the following days, we visited famous archaeological and paleoanthropological sites in the adjoining Chamo-Konso and Omo-Kibish basins to the east and west of Chew Bahir respectively. Participants were impressed by the Konso archaeological site, containing some of the earliest known stone tools and capped by tephra-bearing late Pleistocene sediments. At Omo-Kibish, we examined the site of some of the earliest Homo sapiens fossils. The proximity of Omo-Kibish to Chew Bahir is of course one of the key reasons for the choice of Chew Bahir as an HSPDP drill site.
   Some project members carried out field campaigns both before and after the excursion. Annett Junginger led a team sampling for hydrological and Sr isotope studies in the Weyto-Chew Bahir and Abaya Chamo-Konso basins, and at Omo-Kibish. Frank Schäbitz, Verena Főrster and Henry Lamb collected sediment samples for grain size end-member analysis. Christine Lane, Al Deino, Asfawossen Asrat and Céline Vidal sampled late Pleistocene tephra layers exposed in the archaeological and paleoanthropological sites. These include possibly the Naka'kire, and the KHS and Aliyo tuffs at Omo-Kibish, and the Silver Tuff and TA-55 at Konso. The tuffs are prominent marker layers in the sections; they may also appear in the Chew Bahir core. The team also took samples of sediments bracketing the tuffs, for OSL analysis by Helen Roberts. Subsequent sediment and tephra analyses will help constrain the age model of the CB cores, and to interpret the climate proxies.
Besides excellent science, participants enjoyed the beautiful setting of the Paradise Lodge at the top of a rift-bounding major fault, overlooking the forests of the Nech-Isar conservation area, with views of lakes Chamo and Abaya. The drives to the various sites across a great diversity of fine landscapes, the immensity of the Chew Bahir basin, and the almost eerie, mysteriously beautiful exposures of the Omo basin, all made special impressions and great memories.
   We are enormously grateful to Asfawossen Asrat for his superb organisation and leadership of the workshop and excursion. Without him, none of this would have been possible

Nate Rabideaux has successfully defended his dissertation,

titled "Late Quaternary East African Environmental Change Based on Mineralogical and Geochemical Analysis of Outcrop and Core Material from the Southern Kenya Rift." Please join us in congratulating Nate on a terrific job well done!

New papers related to HSPDP research by our colleagues in Science.

Congratulations to our colleagues Rick Potts, Al Deino, Allison Brooks and coauthors for the series of new papers on chronology, nature and environmental context of Acheulian/MSA transition at Olorgesailie that have come out this week in Science!

Chew Bahir Mini-Workshop.

A Mini-workshop was held at the University of Potsdam Feb 28-March 1 to discuss publication plans for the coming year related to the findings of the Chew Bahir-HSPDP team. For further information on the outcomes of this meeting please contact Henry Lamb ( A link to the workhop report can be found in the Chew Bahir group forum.

New HSPDP Paper on Change Point Analysis of Chew Bahir Paleoclimate Records.

A paper titled "Abrupt or Gradual? Change Point Analysis of the Late Pleistocene-Holocene Climate Record from Chew Bahir, Southern Ethiopia" by Martin Trauth, Verena Foerster, Annett Junginger, Asfawossen Asrat, Henry Lamb and Frank Schaebitz has been accepted for publication by Quaternary Research. Congratulations Martin and coauthors!. This is publication #12 of HSPDP!

New HSPDP Paper on Leaf-Wax Biomarker Records from WTK Accepted in QSR .

A paper titled "A leaf wax biomarker record of early Pleistocene hydroclimate from West Turkana, Kenya" by Rachel Lupien, Jim Russell, Craig Feibel, Cat Beck, Isla Castaneda and Andy Cohen has been accepted for publication by Quaternary Science Reviews. Congratulations Rachel and coauthors! This is publication #11 of HSPDP.

Synthesis Papers on Luminescence Dating by HSPDP Colleagues Published in Elements.

A series of papers outlining the current state of the art in luminescence dating methods has been published in the February 2018 issue of Elements. These papers include a paper on recent advances in luminescence dating of biogenic calcite by our HSPDP colleagues Geoff Duller and Helen Roberts, as well as a review of the implications of luminescence dating techniques for understanding human evolution, which will certainly be of interest to HSPDP team members.

HSPDP will be at EGU 2018 Meeting in Vienna, Austria!

See Upcoming Events page for HSPDP sessions of interest.

HSPDP is going to have a broadcast length film for public television documenting field, lab and science findings of HSPDP produced by Earth Images Foundation!

Thanks to NSF who has awarded HSPDP with a supplement grant to our Frontiers in Earth Systems Dynamics core award.

New HSPDP Publication on diatoms from the Afar drilling area by Joseph Mohan, Jeffery Stone and Chris Campisano.

Mohan et al 2016 Phytotaxa.pdf

HSPDP logo downloadable here

Click here to download HSPDP logo (255 KB)

HSPDP/UA Geosciences Sponsored Short Course by Dr. Martin Trauth. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. October 7-10, 2016

Click here to download flyer PDF

Andy Cohen, Henry Lamb, and Helen Roberts interview on BBC-Wales Radio about HSPDP (the July 12 recording of Science Café )

Click here to download MP3 (50,815 KB)

Come hear about HSPDP's research at the following venues

35th International Geological Congress (August 27- September 4, 2016; Cape Town, South Africa)














  • Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (September 25-28, 2016; Denver, CO. USA) See sessions T123: From Outcrop to Core: Integrating Paleoenvironmental and Paleoclimatic Records Across Time and Space (convened by our own Cat Beck, Emily Beverly, Nate Rabideaux, and Mona Stockhecke), and T194. The Context of Our Origins: Geological Studies of Old World Fossil Primate and Hominin Sites, convened by Chris Lepre


























  • HSPDP/UA Geosciences Sponsored Short Course by Dr. Martin Trauth. University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ. October 7-10, 2016. Link for more information will be coming soon.


























  • American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting (December 12-16, 2016; San Francisco, CA. USA) See session PP013. From mud and dust to curves and concepts: New findings on the environmental context of human evolution, convened by our own Verena Foerster and Annett Junginger


























  • HSPDP Annual Meeting, Tempe, AZ. January 13-15, 2017. (contact Chris Campisano for more information)


























  • Geological Society of Africa Meeting (March, 2017; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) Please contact our own Asfawossen Asrat, who will be convening a session on the African Rift and human evolution













    A Human Climate, a film about HSPDP's research by the Earth Images Foundation

    Filmed in 3-D, it will be shown at museums in the US, Ethiopia, and Kenya. If you’re interested in a 3-D version for public viewing, contact us

    Earth Core: The Hominin Project, a film by Chew Bahir Artist-In-Residence Julian Ruddock

    earth core: the hominin project from julianruddock on Vimeo.

    Arizona Politics interviews Andrew Cohen discussing the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (Interview with Andrew starts at minute 14:44)


    is an international scientific collaboration whose goal is to collect sediment drill cores for paleoclimate and paleoenviromental analysis in proximity to some of the world's most important fossil hominin and artifact sites.


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