Proposed series of expeditions into the the eastern Omaheke and Hardap Regions of Namibia in search of palaeoanthropological evidence in the region.
Exploration for early hominid remains and archaeological sites in the eastern Omaheke and Hardap Regions of Namibia along the Nossob river and its drainages and associated pans, including the Swart-Nossob and Wit-Nossob. Our intention is to survey erosional exposures in and near the Nossob river along approximately 340 kilometers from where it crosses the Botswana border into Namibia to approximately the northerly extension of the major part of it and its tributaries drainages where they near the B6 highway on the eastern slopes of the Otjihavera mountain range, east of Windhoek. We also wish to investigate salt pans in the vicinity of Aminius that formed as part of its historic minor tributaries in and around the previous border settlement known as Narukus (See map 1).
We request permission to conduct on the ground surveys in this region in search of archaeological sites, but more particularly fossil evidence of fauna and potentially hominins related to prehistoric occupation. Our research and exploration activities in neighboring Botswana and South Africa, as well as our historical research indicate good probability that the sediments along the river course, rock shelters and pans may preserve remains of value to science and increasing our understanding of Namibia’s prehistory and heritage.
The survey work would consist of traditional on the ground surveys by vehicle and on foot, driven by our use of satellite imagery, geological maps and historical documentation to guide our search. All fossil bearing localities, archaeological sites, rock art and other objects or sites of heritage interest would be described, photographed, mapped and identified where possible. GPS coordinates would be taken, and the location mapped on Google Earth Pro. Copies of all results of work would be handed over to the National Heritage Council of Namibia at the end of the survey period in suitable, useable form. Drone work may from time to time be used for survey and documentation purposes and if this permit is granted, the necessary permissions to fly a drone in Namibia. We have on our expedition team a drone pilot certified by the South African Civil Aviation Authority with all necessary licenses to operate in that country legally.
We envision the exploration teams would typically comprise two to three vehicles with teams comprising four to six persons, though certain areas may need slightly increased numbers. Surveys would be conducted during daylight hours, and permissions to access private property our government areas would be gained if this permit is granted. We would envision an initial exploratory expedition into the region to assess the terrain on the ground, as well as meet landowners and assess areas of higher potential. This would be followed by a number of expeditions into the region over the course of a year. We would intend to camp in permitted areas and in lodges in the region. We would provide a list of every individual involved in the expedition to the National Heritage Council at least three weeks prior to the beginning of the expedition and ensure each has appropriate visas to enter Namibia.
As the intent of this initial work is for survey purposes, we would not intend to collect specimens unless a find is in danger of imminent destruction. In such a case we would request a protocol for contacting the appropriate museum and museum authority in order to make a decision on what should be done with such a discovery, how it should be collected and where it should be brought as a repository. Though we do not anticipate such an event occurring, we have found that creating such contacts and provisions has been useful in our work in other southern African countries and it typically forms part of our protocol if the permitting authority is amenable. The Principle Investigator has more than 29 years of collecting and curating delicate specimens in field situations and the members of the expedition all have extensive training and experience in archaeological and palaeontological exploration and excavation.
Times and Dates
If the permit is approved we would request the permit be valid for at least 18 months from date of issue in order for us to maximize the number of expeditions into the region. We would ideally wish to begin this survey work during winter months of 2018 due to temperature conditions in eastern Namibia during other times of the year.
We presently have funding through end 2020 available to support such exploratory work via grants from the National Geographic Project and the Lyda Hill Foundation as well as through the LRB Foundation for Exploration.
In the spirit of developing young Namibians in the exploration sciences, we would be pleased to support a senior Namibian student of archaeology, geology or palaeoanthropology, or an early career scientist in these fields to join us on the expeditions. This could be a single assigned person, or vary from expedition to expedition at the suggestion of the National Heritage Council or their appointed authority.