Director of the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project
Sileshi Semaw is the Principal Investigator of the Gona Project, and he is currently a research scientist with the Consorcio CENIEH in Burgos, Spain. He maintains an affiliation with the Stone Age Institute and CRAFT, Indiana University, after working for SAI/CRAFT-IU for over ten years. The Gona study area is located in the Afar region of Ethiopia. The site is primarily known for yielding the oldest stone tools in the world dated to 2.6 million years ago. Initial archaeological study of Semaw and colleagues illuminated the surprisingly advanced technical skills of late Pliocene hominids (see publications). In 1999 Semaw brought together an experienced and well-qualified team of lithic experts for investigating the earliest stone technology, and an interdisciplinary team of scientists (in geology and paleontology) to begin intensive and systematic investigations at Gona. The ongoing multidisciplinary research team has contributed to the discipline enormously with important archaeological and hominid discoveries including both early Pliocene and early Pleistocene hominids. The Gona research was supported by a generous funding from the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation. Additional support for the Gona research was provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation (including RHOI-NSF).