Hilary Duke

hilary_portrait_cropped smallcopy

Hilary is an archaeologist and current PhD candidate based at the Department of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, USA. She previously completed an M.Sc. in Anthropology at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Hilary’s research, funded by the Leakey Foundation, harnesses data from stone tool assemblages to investigate the evolution of hominin cognition during the Plio-Pleistocene. In particular, she explores the origins of intentional stone tool shaping, the first generally-accepted evidence for which are the ‘Large Cutting Tools’ (LCTs) – such as the iconic handaxe – that first appeared 1.76 million-year-ago in the Kokiselei site complex, West Turkana. But – do these artefacts really mark the origins of intentional shaping, or are the roots of this behaviour present in earlier, less conspicuously formed artefact types? Hilary’s work approaches this issue by examining stone knapping processes to track the development of hominin shaping behaviour throughout the Kokiselsei sequence, grounding her analyses in a series of experimentally-replicated stone tool collections.

In her own words

What do you like about being in the field in Turkana? 
“Late afternoon sunshine when the heat starts to break, the sound of goats walking through camp, and the stars at night”

What do you miss when you are in the field?
“Knitting, craft beer, good cheese, and my dog Jake”

Tell us a unique fact about yourself…
“Not of much use in Turkana, but I used to teach synchronized swimming lessons!”

For more information about Hilary’s Leakey Foundation funded research project, click here.

For further information about Hilary or to contact her directly, please visit her page on Researchgate.