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David Bricker
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, December 2, 2003

World's first "Stone Age Institute" opened by IU anthropologists

Stone Age Institute (front, night)

Photo by: David Bricker, IU Media Relations

The Stone Age Institute is the world's first research center devoted entirely to early human culture.

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The CRAFT Stone Age Institute, the first center in the world devoted to early human culture, has been completed and will soon receive scientists from around the world. Indiana University Bloomington anthropologists Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth, who jointly direct CRAFT (Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology), created the institute with funds they received from the private group Friends of CRAFT.

"We believe we've created the finest research center anywhere for scientists interested in early human evolution and culture," Toth said. Schick continued, "We also believe the Stone Age Institute will enhance the research mission of IU by providing both a new resource for its current scientists, as well as a compelling reason for new scientists to come here."

The 11,400-square-foot research center, which is not open to the general public, houses three laboratories, 10 research offices, a press room, a conference room and a spacious, vaulted library of more than 50,000 books and articles. Many of the institute's windows frame the picturesque, tree-covered hills of southern Indiana.

One key element of the building is a slightly tapered, 35-foot tall stone tower at the entrance, reminiscent of towers built by prehistoric peoples. At the base of the tower is a gallery displaying archaeological items from Schick's and Toth's collection in lighted cases embedded in the walls and floor. The CRAFT Stone Age Institute was designed by Kirkwood Design Studio (Bloomington, Ind.) architects Mary Krupinski, who designed the tasting room of nearby Oliver Winery, and Dawn Grey.

Schick and Toth, who are married, were inspired to build the new research center after having been guests of George Lucas at the director's Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif. Impressed with the layout of the ranch's work spaces, Toth said it occurred to them that scientists, too, can benefit from natural settings and work environments that maximize productivity and creativity.

Schick said they plan to invite leading scientists to join them, but they also hope to bring in promising younger researchers from developing countries where research funding is sparse and advanced scientific instruments are not easily acquired.

Highly respected scientists in their field of early human tool use, Schick and Toth were both elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science last month.

To talk with Toth or Schick, contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035 or