Reconstructing a Stone‑Age Embrace

In 2000, a major archaeological discovery made in Niger by a team led by paleontologist Paul Sereno opened a window onto the "Green Sahara". Called Gobero (GOH-ber-oh), after the Tuareg name for the area, the site revealed a 5,000-year-long drama of changing climate and changing cultures.

One of the most remarkable discoveries at Gobero is the triple burial dubbed the "Stone Age Embrace." An adult female is buried on her right side facing two children, buried on their left side. These people were buried with their arms and legs around each other and holding hands. Four arrowheads were buried in the grave with them, and they were buried on a bed of flowers.

Paul Sereno's vision was to create something unique that would enable people to

  1. View the burial from both sides.
  2. Preserve all of the scientific information in place: from the tiniest bones to the original position of the artifacts.

He met with his staff at the University of Chicago Fossil Lab to make a plan. Paleoartist Tyler Keillor brought a "paleo-trifecta" of art, science and innovation to bear in order to help reconstruct this ancient scene.

Smooth-On's Shell Shock® brushable plastic and Mold Max® 10 silicone played an integral role in the reconstruction of this significant fossilized burial site.

Content provided by Gabe Lyon, Project Exploration. Visit the Project Exploration Website Here:

All images copyright Project Exploration