Investigating Olduvai

archaeology of human origins CD-ROM

Jeanne M. Sept
Anthropology Department, Indiana University

Published by Indiana University Press


The earliest archaeological evidence for proto-human behavior is often difficult for students to understand from textbooks and lectures alone. I wanted to develop an exercise for my students in introductory archaeology classes that would introduce them to the real evidence from one of the most famous early sites, while also engaging them in the detective work fundamental to human origins research. I designed a multimedia teaching tool focused on Olduvai Gorge, a famous early archaeology site in East Africa. The program contains real data from the site, and challenges students to interpret these data for themselves, using a set of analysis tools and learning exercises integrated into the program. View a sample of CD-ROM screenshots and images.

Indiana University Press published " Investigating Olduvai: Archaeology of Human Origins " in 1997 as a CD-ROM for both MacIntosh and PC platforms. A complementary Instructor's Guide is also available upon request.



Development: The Olduvai project began in June 1992, and within three months we had produced a prototype of the program that my students tested. With the aid of an instructional technology fellowship from the IU Dean of Faculties, Jeanne Sept focused on the pedagogical concepts of the program and developed its content (text and graphics). A development team from TLTL (Teaching and Learning Technology Lab) at IU initially designed a custom Hypercard interface for the program, integrated with interactive features for students to explore. Subsequently, the team reprogramed Investigating Olduvai in Macromedia Director.

Investigating Olduvai has been used by my students for assignments in a variety of different courses, every semester since fall 1992. Because the program contains the real data, and a flexible range of exercises and assignment questions, it has been successful with students with a wide range of expertise and experiences, from high school students and college freshmen, to senior archaeology majors and beginning graduate students.

Screenshots and more about the CD-ROM

TLTL: Developing the CD-ROM

IU Press: On-line Ordering Information


Last updated: 7 January 2000
Copyright 1997 Jeanne Sept