Sophie is an archaeologist with the Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Preventives (National Institute of Preventative Archaeological Research, or INRAP) in Paris, France, while at the same time completing her PhD research at the Université Paris Ouest La Defence. She first joined the WTAP in the field in 2008.
Sophie’s research concerns the changes in the techniques and concepts of stone tool production that took place during the Acheulean in East Africa. In particular, she is interested in identifying the subtle, tell-tale features within stone tool reduction sequences that indicate a shift in technical savoir-faire from knapping using hard, non-organic mineral hammerstones (i.e. rock), to the use of relatively softer, organic materials like wood. This is a big challenge in West Turkana because of the particular fracture mechanics of the rocks that were used for toolmaking. By taking an experimental approach to these issues, Sophie is generating a comparative dataset that can be used to analyse archaeological lithic assemblages.
In her own words
What do you like about being in the field in Turkana?
“I love the acacia trees, especially when they are in bloom.”
What do you miss when you are in the field?
Tell us a unique fact about yourself…
“It’s not particularly useful for an archaeologist, but I think I can identify all of the birds in Turkana”
For more information about Sophie’s research or to contact her directly, please visit her page on Researchgate.