ISHANGO

The history of archaeological excavations

Jean de Heinzelin (1920-1998)

Geologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences from 1946 to 1985, he was also a professor at the universities of Ghent and Brussels. He worked mainly on geology and archaeology of Palaeolithic Africa.

Scientific explorations in the Congo


The site was discovered in 1935 by Hubert Damas, a zoologist at the University of Liège. In the 1930s, the Institute for the National Parks of Belgian Congo had undertaken a thorough scientific exploration of the parks. This resulted in an impressive series of publications on the park's flora and fauna.

The discoveries of Hubert Damas


A zoological observation survey on the shore of Lake Edward of Damascus brought to light remains of an ancient human presence : human bones. So that this discovery could be followed by an archaeological exploration, Damas brought the find to attention with a publication.

The excavations at Ishango


Jean de Heinzelin was in charge of the first archaeological explorations during several archaeological campaigns between 1950 and 1959. In the late 1980s, an American team led by Alison S. Brooks of George Washington University, conducted two further excavations.