Valley of Awash - UNESCO registered

UNESCO registered the area of Awash Valley as a world heritage site mainly because of its immense paleo-anthropological and archaeological resources. In this regard, the Middle Awash, Hadar, Gona, Dikika, Busidima and Melka Kunture are worth mentioning.

The Awash Valley contains the oldest hominid remains that date back at least to 5million years. It also provides evidence of the genus Homo sapiens and Lithic (stone tool) technology. The major fossil remains of the area are described in the table below.

Aradipithecus ramidus kadabba

Dated between 5.8 million to 5.2 million years ago. Discovered in the Middle Awash. Believed to be the oldest hominid remain. Kadabba” in the Afar Language means the first ancestor of the family because it is supposed to be the root of the hominid family tree.

Aradipithecus ramidus

The second hominid remains so far discovered. Discovered in the Middle Awash Valley. Its age is estimated to be 4.5 million years. The fossil has got its name ramidus after the Afar language ‘ramis’ which means root.

Lucy or ‘Dinknesh’

Belonged to Australpithecus afarensis. Discovered in 1974 at a place called Hadar in Afar region. Its age is estimated to be 3.18 million years. The most famous of all fossil remains so far discovered because it is the most complete one whose skeleton is represented by about 52 bone fragments

Homo Sapiens idaltu

Discovered in the Middle Awash site of Afar Triangle in 1997 specifically known as Herto Boun Dated between 154,000 and 160,000 years old. It is roughly translated as “elderly wise man”

There are also many other human fossils discovered in the Awash Valley. For instance, we have;
The recently discovered fossil remains of a female child (in 2006) in Afar area named “Selam” dated to 3.3 million years ago.

Fossils of archaic Homo sapiens discovered in the Middle Awash at a site called Bodo. Archaic Homo sapiens is considered as an intermediate between Homo erectus and modern Homo sapien and is believed to have been evolved from Homo erectus sometime between 300,000 and 600,000 years ago

Melka-Kunture located at about 50km south of Addis Ababa is also an important archeological site in Awash Valley. In this pre-historic site, the layers of rock uncovered by the River Awash contain a large number of Stone Age artifacts. All types of stone artifacts, from Oldwan to the Neolithic have discovered in there.

It is also important to note that besides the paleo-anthropological and archaeological sites, there are also many outstanding geological features around the Awash Valley including Ertale active volcano and the Dallol Depression. The Awash and the Yangudi Rasa National parks are also found in this same site.