Published: April 2005
Mike Morwood

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

During the first field season at the Flores site, we found a very peculiar hominin radius bone about six meters (20 feet) down. It was definitely hominin but certainly not like any other we were familiar with because it dated back about 74,000 years. This discovery showed the first indication at the Flores site of a hominin species not reminiscent of modern humans, and I felt very excited to be a part of it.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

I saw somebody hacked and speared to death about three feet (one meter) away from the telephone cubicle where I was making a call. Everyone fled, and I was left there with this bleeding body. Eventually someone came back, and I said, "Call the police." The man pointed to the person on the ground and said, "That is the police."

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

Kira Westaway, a researcher at the Flores site, collects core samples from stalagmites for her paleoclimatology work. She accidentally left behind one of her most important cores, a prime piece of paleontology. Archaeologist Rokus Due Awe found it lying there, took a knife, and ground it down to make a really nice reflexology massage stick. Kira has threatened to do Rokus serious harm the next time she sees him.