Ambassador Elisabeth Barbier visits the excavation site of Kromdraai
On Saturday 29 October 2016, the Ambassador of France to South Africa, H.E. Elisabeth Barbier, was invited by professors Jose Braga and Francis Tackeray (heads of the French - South African program on Kromdraai excavations) and Pierre-Henri Giscard (Scientific Director of French Institute for Deserts and Steppes) to visit the excavation site of Kromdraai, in the Cradle of Humankind.
The Kromdraai Project investigates the earliest known fossiliferous infilling of a previously unexplored area of the Kromdraai underground cave system.
Since 2014, this new locality of the Kromdraai site provided as yet thousands of identifiable macrovertebrate fossils, including dental, cranial and postcranial remains of hominins, all tied in the earliest part of the stratigraphic sequence, representing three distinct depositional periods. Our ongoing taxonomic, phylogenetic and taphonomic interpretations of these newly discovered samples, will help to determine whether Kromdraai hominins correspond to temporal and evolutionary events also represented in eastern Africa between 2.5 and 2.0 millions of years, or if they represent unique Plio-Pleistocene snapshots of hominin evolution in southern Africa with a transition from a local Australopithecus species to Paranthropus and Homo.
The Kromdraai site in the Cradle of Humankind, is intensively investigated in the frame of a bilateral French – South-African cooperation, involving as main partners Toulouse University (France) and Wits University (South Africa), and several additional academic and research institutions.
Behind academic and institutional funding, this long-term project is supported by the French Embassy in South Africa and the Institute for Deserts and Steppes.