Archeology of the Deep Past for the Future

IFRA is partnering the project CONFMAP: “Consolidating the Future through Mastering the Deep Past”. Led by archaeologist Sonia Harmand, it brings together the Turkana University College, the National Museums of Kenya, the Turkana Basin Institute, and the French Embassy in Nairobi

Ten years ago, Sonia Harmand and her team discovered in the Western region of Lake Turkana the oldest tools in the history of mankind dating back to 3.3 million years. This discovery constitutes an exceptional breakthrough and places these archaeological sites among the most important sites of the humanity heritage. 

In 2019, Sonia Harmand invited Cyril Gerardon, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs at the French Embassy, for a visit at the Turkana University College in Lodwar (Turkana) with Dr. Isaiah Nengo (Turkana Basin Institute). The idea then emerged to set up a project, funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, to improve access to palaeosciences for marginalized populations while raising awareness among the Kenyan public of the value of its prehistoric archaeological heritage.

Launched in April 2021, the project includes various activities over the next two years: 

  • Kenyan students, especially women and Turkana, will benefit from consolidated and adapted training in archaeology and cultural tourism. 
  • The “Master of Science in Evolutionary Biology” of the Turkana University College will be strengthened 
  • Awareness programs on archaeology will be implemented within the prehistoric clubs of the primary and secondary schools of the Turkana region. 
  • A traveling photographic exhibition will be set up to raise public awareness about the richness of Kenya’s prehistoric archaeological heritage and of the profession of archaeologist. It will be first shown in Nairobi in December 2021.

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