Website Category: Human Origins
Criteria: (ii) interchange of values (iii) cultural tradition (iv) icon of an era
Location and Values: The Lower Valley of the Awash is located at the extreme north-eastern end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, near Ethiopia’s border with Djibouti. It includes one of the most important groups of palaeontological sites on the African continent, where excavations since 1973 have revealed a wealth of hominid (and other animal) fossils dating back 4 million years, which have changed our view of human evolution. The most spectacular discovery was made in 1974 when 52 fragments of a small hominid enabled the reconstruction of the famous Lucy, an adult female of the species Australopithecus afarensis. At 3.2 million years old, Lucy provided the earliest record of one of our hominid ancestors walking on two feet. Although the dig sites are not open to the public, fundraising for a new interpretive centre was completed in early 2011, and this will be built in the town of Eloaha, 30 km from the main Hadar excavation.
Slideshow of the Lower Valley Of The Awash: There are just three photos in the slideshow, all taken at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa. They show a reconstruction of the complete skeleton of ‘Lucy’, the most notable hominid fossil find from the Awash Valley. The skeleton stands in a cabinet next to an Ethiopian guide, showing the diminutive size of ‘Lucy’ compared with modern man. She would have stood approximately 1 metre high and weighed 27-30 kg. In addition there is a photo of a hominid skull, such as others found during excavations in the Lower Awash Valley.
Slideshow of the Lower Valley Of The Awash:
Google Earth View: To view satellite imagery of the general area of the Lower Valley of the Awash on Google Earth,click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing.
Want to know more?
Download this 14-page guide to the key hominin fossils found across the continent, and the story of human origins and evolution. The Guide is based on displays at the National Museum of Kenya (Nairobi) and includes a narrative on human evolution; photos of 19 key hominin fossils; artists impressions of four human ancestors; a map of hominin fossil locations; a diagrammatic representation of the human family tree; and 'interest boxes' on stone tools and methods of dating fossils. To download this free educational guide, click here.
Other Links: Official UNESCO Site Details