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(Image: Wits Uni­ver­si­ty)

From the Com­mand Cen­tre, senior sci­en­tists and guests could mon­i­tor the excavations.

Above ground, and clus­tered near the cave entrance, the Com­mand Cen­tre, the Sci­ence Tent and the Cavers’ Tent all buzzed with activ­i­ty. From the Com­mand Cen­tre, senior sci­en­tists and guests could mon­i­tor the exca­va­tions on split-screen com­put­er mon­i­tors that received video feeds from cam­eras posi­tioned through­out the cave. Anoth­er mon­i­tor dis­played the most recent 3D scans of the exca­va­tion, allow­ing those above ground to con­sult with the exca­va­tors below on the best way to extract an awk­ward­ly posi­tioned or del­i­cate fos­sil like a por­tion of a skull. But the com­mu­ni­ca­tion went both ways, with a bank of tele­phones linked to receivers at the top and bot­tom of the Chute, as well as in the Dinale­di Cham­ber itself. At least one senior sci­en­tist was always on duty in the Com­mand Cen­tre, ready to respond if an exca­va­tor called up from their remote workplace.