Sereno Research Lab

Paul Sereno, Professor in Organismal Biology & Anatomy, University of Chicago

Gobero, skeleton in the Sahara

Sereno and “Bido” (longtime field Tuareg field assistant) discuss fine points of a remarkable triple burial at Gobero, a woman and her two children. Their hands grasping each other in death some 7,500 years ago, it has been recognized as the most posed multiple burial in prehistory (Photo by Mike Hettwer, 2006)

In 2000 a major archaeological discovery made by a team led by paleontologist Paul Sereno opened a window onto the “Green Sahara,” a moment of time that spanned 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. Called Gobero after the local Tuareg name for the area, the discovery revealed a suite of closely-spaced archaeological sites preserved in two kinds of settings—paleodune and paleolake deposits. These sites document a 5000-year-long drama of changing climate and changing cultures. (From the website).

The online archaeological project in OCHRE exemplifies how archaeologists can organize, display and make accessible a broad range of information, data and images including CT scans of burials and associated paleontologic and geologic data.

The OCHRE database has allowed for the input of archaeological and paleontological legacy data with ease and sophistication because of the expert advice and assistance of OCHRE project personnel.  Particularly useful is the integration of  diverse data across disciplines with 3D-mapping features for individual sites at adjustable scale. Organizing, viewing, and making accessible online data displayed in this way will lead toward a more collaborate future.

Paul Sereno


Amazonite pendant from Gobero (Ténéré Desert, Niger)

Amazonite pendant from Gobero (Ténéré Desert, Niger)

Gobero, pottery sherds

Pottery sherds of younger rocker (left) and older wavy line (right) decorative styles found at Gobero, which are part of the first calibrated record of pottery materials and design assembled at any site in the Sahara

Bone hook from Gobero (Ténéré Desert, Niger)

Bone hook from Gobero (Ténéré Desert, Niger)