Wilkie portrait

Leighton A. Wilkie Memorial Lecture and CRAFT & Stone Age Institute Award for Outstanding Research into Human Origins

This award is presented to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to human evolutionary studies. Recipients are invited to give a talk on their work and receive an engraved plaque from the Stone Age Institute and CRAFT.

Leighton A. Wilkie (1900-1993) was an inventor and tool-maker. About 70 years ago he invented the metal-cutting band saw (contour band machine), considered to be one of the seven basic machine tools. He founded the DoALL Company in Des Plaines, Illinois, which produces a range of modern machine tools.

Leighton had a passion for human origins, in particular the evolution of human technology. Under his early sponsorship, Jane Goodall was able to mount her first expedition to Tanzania to study wild chimpanzees at Gombe Reserve, a study which first documented for the world ape tool-making and tool-using. She name one of the most proficient tool-using chimpanzees “Wilkie” after her sponsor. Leighton also supported the research of Raymond Dart in South Africa and of Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge.

We would like to acknowledge our personal gratitude to Leighton Wilkie and his family, who shared our vision for the CRAFT Research Center and the Stone Age Insitute and was an early supporter of our mission. His library on human origins and technology and his artifact collection are invaluable additions to the Stone Age Institute. Our distinguished lecture series in his honor is a lasting memory of his interest and support of Stone Age studies.

Recipients of the Outstanding Research Award

2020 Tim White, University of California, Berkeley

2019 Fidelis Masao, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

2019 Henry and Marie-Antoinette de Lumley, Institute of Human Paleontology, Paris

2017 Linda F. Marchant, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

2016 Thomas Wynn, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

2015 Sonia Harmand, Stonybrook University, New York

2014 David Lordkipanidze, Georgian National Museum, Republic of Georgia

2013 Fred Smith, Illinois State University

2012 Walter Alvarez, University of California, Berkeley

2011 Henry Gilbert, California State University, East Bay

2010 Lawrence Straus, University of New Mexico

2009 Johannes Haile-Selassie, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

2008 David Christian, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

2007 Ralph Holloway, Columbia University

2006 David Lordkipanidze, National Museum, Republic of Georgia, Tbilisi

2006 Duane Rumbaugh, Great Ape Trust, Des Moines Iowa

2005 Pat Shipman, The Pennsylvania State University

2005 Alan Walker, The Pennsylvania State University

2004 C.K. "Bob" Brain, Transvaal Museum, Pretoria, South Africa

2003 Ron Clarke, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

2002 Ralph Holloway, Columbia University

2001 Harold Dibble, University of Pennsylvania

2000 Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Georgia State University

1999 Frank Brown, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

1998 Jean Clottes and Robert Begouen, Begouen Association

1998 Lorraine Copeland, Chateau de Marouatte, France

1997 Richard Klein, Stanford University

1996 F. Clark Howell, University of California, Berkeley

1995 William McGrew, Miami University, OH

1994 J. Desmond Clark, University of California, Berkeley

1993 Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall Institute, Tucson, AZ and Gombe Reserve, Tanzania

1992 Mary Leakey, National Museums of Kenya and Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

1991 Kanzi and the Language Research Center, Georgia State University