Posted by James Flittner and Victor de Moor
Since the first week of June another MEMSAP season has started. After organising all the equipment, setting up the lab, and going through the inevitable car troubles we are now well underway with the work. This year our team is smaller than usual as there will be no field school (unfortunately!). The first phase of the season will see us undertaking extensive lab work on Middle Stone Age artefacts alongside landscape surveys of several river catchments in the Karonga District of northern Malawi.
The lab work is managed by stone artefact specialist Sheila Nightingale. With the assistance of Malawian participants Frederick Mapemba, Weilani Ng’ambi, and Carolyne Kalinga, Sheila analyses finds from the previous field seasons from the sites Chaminade II, Chaminade III, Bruce, and from test pits (https://memsap.org/2012/07/18/discovery-of-a-new-old-middle-stone-age-site-on-chaminade-hill-karonga-malawi/).
The surveys are a continuation of landscape research started in 2011 (https://memsap.org/2012/08/07/landscape-archaeology-and-surveying-in-karonga-district-2/). The survey team this year consists of Davie Simengwa, Oris Malijani, James Flittner, and Victor de Moor. Again the focus is on cores, but also Levallois flakes are mapped, analysed, and photographed in the field. New this season is that we are camping during the surveys. Last year much time was spent travelling between survey areas and home, so camping is a very big logistical advantage.
From halfway July our team will be strengthened by the MEMSAP team of geologists, whose arrival we are looking forward to very much. Make sure to check out this blog over the next couple of months for reports on our work and stories of the twists and turns of doing archaeological work in Malawi.