Recent GACT fieldwork

In February 2024, Susan Mentzer conducted new research at the site of Rampart Cave, located in the western Grand Canyon (USA). The site is an important paleontological locality, known for its thick deposits of dung and feces from various Pleistocene animals including sloth and packrat. In the late 1970’s, a fire impacted the interior of the cave and burned much of the Pleistocene deposits. The new work at the site includes a microstratigraphic study of both the intact and burned deposits, sampling for aDNA, documentation of the profiles and ash deposits, and overall assessment of the fire impacts nearly 50 years later. The work will give GACT researchers an opportunity to study a cave that never contained traces of human habitation.

In April 2024, Susan Mentzer and Christopher Miller collected sediment samples from a new cave site in the Ach Tal called Untere Köhnenbuchhöhle. The aim of the work is to document the sedimentary traces of occupation of a cave entrance by badgers. With continued excavations planned by Guido Bataille and colleagues, this site may include more GACT sampling in the future, including opportunities for GACT students to participate in field work.

A report of the excavation campaign in Sibhudu from February to April 2024 will follow soon!