Dr. Steven Brandt
Welcome to the Southwest Ethiopia Archaeological Project (SWEAP)! Based at the University of Florida, SWEAP has been conducting archaeological and ethnoarchaeological research within the diverse environments of southwestern Ethiopia since the early 1990’s when I became director of the project. In 2006 SWEAP began a long-term study of hunter-gatherer responses to major environmental changes in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa during the Late Pleistocene (~130-12,000 years ago. This includes the testing of a hypothesis that the highlands of southwestern Ethiopia served as a major environmental refugium ~72-58,000 years ago when a cold and very arid climatic period resulted in the decline of hunter-gatherer populations and the aggregation of surviving groups into the SW Highlands.
Situated at the edge of the SW Highlands, Mochena Borago Rockshelter has played a major role in testing this Refugium Hypothesis as it is the only known site in the Horn of Africa to encompass archaeological deposits dating to the critical time period of >50,000 to ~36,000 years. In 2010 SWEAP teamed with the University of Cologne to conduct archaeological research at Mochena Borago. This was also the year that SWEAP began taking 10 undergraduates each field season through the University of Florida International Center’s UF in Ethiopia study abroad program (Link to the Field Program for Undergraduates) where they could obtain 14 transferable credits by spending a semester at UF and Mochena Borago.
If you are a bright, inquisitive student with little or no archaeological experience interested in learning archaeological methods in an African context, or a student with significant archaeological experience wanting to learn more about the method and theory of studying Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer behavior in Eastern Africa, I urge you to look through the website to learn more about the Spring 2019 Mochena Borago Field Research program, and to download an application for one of the remaining positions.
Mochena Borago will provide an experience like no other, studying and understanding what it is that makes us human.
Dr. Steven Brandt