MA (Arch), 2008
Marina Elliott was an “underground astronaut” in November, 2013 as part of the Rising Star Expedition led by Professor Lee Berger of University of Witwatersrand. This team excavated at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa where they unearthed over 1000 fossils of what may prove to be a new hominoid.
How does one get on this team? No problem: just be an experienced caver and spelunker, have extensive archaeological, paleontological and excavation skills and be able to drop everything and move to South Africa for a month. Oh, and you must be able to fit through an 18 centimetre-wide choke hole on your way down – 30 metres down – to reach the fossils in the cave.
National Geographic set up a blog to document their excavation and findings. Interviews with the team and video of their discoveries are all shown here: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/tag/rising-star-expedition
Marina is currently a PhD candidate at SFU in Archaeology under the supervision of Professor Mark Collard. For her PhD thesis, Elliott is using whole-body three-dimensional CT data to evaluate the methods paleoanthropologists and biological anthropologists use to estimate body mass from skeletal remains.