Durham University Field Course

In early September 14 undergraduate anthropologists from Durham University spent a week and a half at Lajuma. They were part of the first undergraduate anthropology overseas field course hosted by a British university. The field course was led by Dr Russell Hill and Dr Matt Candea, both from Durham University.

They had an amazing time despite bringing some English weather with them for the first few days. The students spent half of their time learning biological skills for studying primates and the remainder of their time honing their social anthropology skills in a local village.

When they first arrived Oldrich took them for an eco-walk to learn about the surroundings. They also received a talk about the biodiversity of the area from Professor Ian Gaigher.

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The students set up giving up density trays in the tall forest to test the effect of tree height, canopy cover, and lateral visibility on samango monkeys’ landscape of fear. Every morning buckets filled with sawdust and 20 peanuts were set up and every afternoon the remaining peanuts were counted.

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While at Lajuma the students practiced taking data on samango monkeys using different techniques and learnt how to do vegetation sampling. The checkerboard below is used to assess the thickness of the forest and visibility at different heights and distances.

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The students really enjoyed their homestays in Indermark. They did an ethnographic study of various parts of the local community including the creche, a council office, and a traditional healer’s practice. Within the community and also at Lajuma the students were encouraged to conduct an interview. The students below are discussing their social research ideas with Matt.

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Everyone had a great time and the general consensus for next year is that the course should be longer. We certainly hope that will happen!

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