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Archaelogical artifacts on display in Bozeman
March 09, 2012
Editor@montanaliving.com

Summary: MSU anthropology students create exhibit featuring million-year-old Kenyan artifacts that will be on display at MSU’s Renne Library from March 19-April 6.

BOZEMAN - A collection including stone tool artifacts made by early human ancestors, will be on display at Montana State University’s Renne Library from March 19 to April 6.

The artifacts were collected by famed paleoanthropologist Louis S. B. Leakey from several sites excavated in Kenya between 1925 and 1945, and then sent to the United States in 1958 to become part of the pioneering research by Irving Friedman, a geochemist who developed a method to date obsidian known as Obsidian Hydration Dating.

The exhibit was created as part of an independent research course in the MSU Department of Anthropology. Students Betsy Garten and Meghan Forney have been working with Nancy Mahoney, adjunct professor of anthropology, to research the artifacts and how they came to the department’s teaching collection. They are also working with an international community of paleoanthropologists to create a database of Paleolithic artifacts from Kenya that are in collections worldwide.

The MSU artifact collection contains classic examples of Acheulian hand axes and other tools made by Homo erectus between 700,000 and 1 million years ago, as well as examples of the very first projectile points ever made by early modern humans during the African Middle Stone Age, between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago.

The artifacts will be on display alongside information about Leakey and his family, several of whom are also well-known paleoanthropologists, as well as reproductions of the fossil ancestors that made these tools. Graphic illustrations of Obsidian Hydration Dating methods and images of the archaeological sites from which the artifacts came will also be on exhibit.
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