and Audax Mabulla share a relaxed moment at the Loiyangalani archaeological site.
What: "Crown Jewels: Five Great National Parks Around the World and the Challenges They Face," featuring research by Davis resident John R.F. Bower and photographs by Davis photographers Robert W. Floerke, Susan Hoffman and Jan Bower
This profile was written by John R.F. Bower, professor emeritus in anthropology at Iowa State University and research associate in the evolutionary wing of the anthropology department at UC Davis.
John Bower's research in the Serengeti began in 1971 when he was a research fellow at the British Institute of History and Archaeology (now the British Institute in East Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Serengeti Game Lodge was being built, and he
was asked to recover the archaeological material at the site before it was destroyed.
This experience led him to survey other parts of the Serengeti Park and to conduct several seasons of excavation centered on the kopjes in the park, where human habitation was thought to exist.
In 1985, he
discovered the Loiyangalani site, a Middle Stone Age site dated to about 65,000 years ago, where his
research still continues.
The Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area was selected as one of the five featured parks because of the destruction by wildlife, Masan pastoralists and tourism to the archaeological material in excavated and potential sites that document human prehistory in the park.
The other national parks featured in the Presidio exhibit, and in a book published by the American Alliance of Museums
, are the Chang Tang Nature Reserve in China; National Archaeological Parks of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae, Boscoreale and Oplontis in Italy; the Alto Orinoco-Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve in Venezuela and Yanomami Territory in Brazil; and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia.
Bower also conducted a published 10-year comparative study of prehistoric foragers in Europe and North America with Michal Kobusiewicz of the Polish Academy of Sciences' Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Extensive field work in the Rift Valley and Salasun and Lukenya Hill in Kenya, Koster site in the Lower Illinois Valley, Pinar del Rio Province in Cuba, Nabta Playa
in Egypt and Sudan, and underwater archaeology at Caesarea Maritima on the coast of Israel round out Bower's
40-year archaeological career.