Becca Peixotto, one of the archeologists who participated in the ground-breaking discovery of a previously unknown human-like species in 2013, spoke on “Archeology: The view from the end of the cave” at a Joint ECWG and Circumnavigator’s Club dinner meeting on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.
Lee Berger, FI’13, who led the expedition and is an ECWG member, made headline news in September 2015 when he announced the discovery by the Rising Star Expedition in South Africa of a new early human-like species Homo naledi.
Berger gave ECWG members and their guests a preview of this announcement in his Dec. 7, 2013 talk at an ECWG dinner at the Cosmos Club when he described the discovery of what would turn out to be the newly described species Homo naledi.
The Rising Star Expedition team included senior scientists, early career researchers and students along with a dedicated group of volunteers.
In his 2013 talk Berger said that exploring the cave required archeologists who were slim enough to crawl through the the cave’s tiny openings. As it turned out the primary excavators who went into the cave were women, including Peixotto.
Nov. 19 ECWG dinner she discussed the fossils, the excitement Homo naledi has generated, and the ways Homo naledi is changing how we think about human evolution, and the importance of exploration.
Becca Peixotto is a PhD candidate and adjunct instructor in the Department of Anthropology at American University.
Her dissertation focuses on historical archaeology and resistance landscapes of the Great Dismal Swamp. She is involved in several projects outside of the Dismal Swamp and the Rising Star Expedition, including the Maryland Historic Trust/Archaeology Society of Maryland Biggs Ford project investigating Middle and Late Woodland villages.
She also actively supports open access and efforts to encourage women and girls in science. Her dissertation fieldwork is supported by an Explorers Club-Washington Group grant, WINGSWorldQuest, the Archaeological Society of Virginia, and American University.
The Wikipedia article on the discovery has a great deal of background information.