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Extra info for A New Human: The Startling Discovery and Strange Story of the "Hobbits" of Flores, Indonesia
M. in order to be able to drive for an hour, and then walk for another hour to the sites in the cool of the early morning. During our excavations on the east side of the Soa Basin, at Dozu Dhalu and Kopowatu, the village of Wolo Wavu was the starting point for the walk up and over a steep ridge to the sites. We had to allow at least two liters of water a day per person and, because of the absence of shade, had to erect tarpaulins for some protection from the blazing heat. The deposits at these sites are rock strata of varying hardness and our excavation tools included sledgehammers, large chisels, picks, screwdrivers and trowels.
Sius Sambut and Rikus, schoolboys during Verhoeven’s time, assist us now as Manggarai elders, and Agus, the cave guardian, is Rikus’s son. It was correspondence with Verhoeven that led Raden Pandji Soejono, then director of ARKENAS, to begin work at the site in 1978, with further excavations in 1981, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1989. Soejono eventually excavated a total of 10 squares, or sectors, at Liang Bua, and uncovered a spectacular cultural sequence. In fact, it is the only excavated site in Indonesia so far to yield evidence for Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Metal Age occupation.
Jack Rink, a dating specialist from McMaster University, Canada, who happened to be visiting the University of Wollongong on study leave at the time, was caught up in the excitement and came also. Jack is a specialist in a dating technique called electron spin resonance (ESR) in which age estimates are made on the basis of the number of electrons trapped in ﬂaws in the crystals of bone or teeth, which is again proportional to background radioactivity and the length of time that the remains have been buried.