1996–1997 Field Seasons and the Olduvai Museum Exhibition

Laetoli Project Report 1995-98

Getty Conservation Institute

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The Pliocene site of Laetoli, which preserves both hominid and faunal tracks, has immense scientific value, particularly for understanding human evolution. The trackway at Site G, fortuitously preserved within layers of volcanic tuff, offers unique evidence of bipedalism in hominids from 3.6 million years ago. Excavated by Mary Leakey in 1978-79, the trackway was documented and then reburied underneath a mantle of soil and lava boulders. Soon after, acacia trees and other vegetation took root in the burial fill, raising concerns about the survival of the trackway. In 1993 this concern led to a joint Getty Conservation Institute–Government of Tanzania project to conserve the trackway.

The 1996-1997 report details three years of activity in the project to conserve the Hominid Trackway at Laetoli. This involved re-excavation of the 20m of the middle and northern sectors of the trackway, condition recording, extraction and treatment of the roots of acacia trees, making molds and casts of the original 1978-79 casts, undertaking site mapping, photography and photogrammetry, implementing site stabilization measures, and extensive involvement and interaction with the local Maasai community. The exhibition created for the nearby Olduvai Museum in 1998 is also described.

How to Cite this Work

Getty Conservation Institute. 2000. Laetoli Project: Report on the 1996-1997 Field Seasons and the Olduvai Museum Exhibition. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/gci_pubs/laetoli_field_report_1996_98