Image: Dr Lloyd Rossouw, Head of Department: Florisbad Quaternary Research Station, National Museum
Florisbad Quaternary Research Station has recently been home to yet another successful field school. A group of 16 students from the University of Pretoria’s Geography and Environmental Sciences Honours class and two of their lecturers travelled 500km to put their long weekend to good use at this exclusive heritage and active research site, 40km north of Bloemfontein.
Image: University of Pretoria’s Geography and Environmental Sciences Honours class at Florisbad Quaternary Research Station
Two of the National Museum’s departments, Florisbad Quaternary Research (represented by Drs Lloyd Rossouw and Brigette Cohen) and Mammalogy (represented by Dr Nico Avenant), collaborated to host a field school that included fieldwork in the quiet Soutpan environment, interesting lectures, stimulating discussions around the excavation areas, a visit to the unique research collection, as well as plenty of healthy student fun.
Florisbad Quaternary Research Station is a satellite museum of the National Museum. It is a research facility for Quaternary palaeontology which combines one of the largest modern comparative osteological and plant silica collections in South Africa with important mid-Quaternary fossil collections. Florisbad is best known as a fossil-bearing spring mound situated 45 km northwest of Bloemfontein in the central Free State Province. It is widely known for producing an archaic modern human skull, now dated to c. 260 000 years old. The mammalian remains from the Florisbad spring, dated to between 400 000 and 100 000 years ago, is the type assemblage of the Florisian Land mammal Age and it is a key site for understanding the appearance of modern environments as well as modern human origins in southern Africa. Three osteological collections are housed at the site. It also has a small educational centre, aimed at primary school visits.
Text: Dr Lloyd Rossoux l Head of Department l Florisbad Quaternary Research Station, National Museum
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