Archaeology in Ethiopia


Ethiopia and Archaeology

Ethiopia offers a greater richness in archaeological finds and historical buildings than any other country in Sub-Saharan Africa. And the country has been registering several world heritage sites by UNESCO related to archaeology which include: Axum one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa. The Awash Valley where Lucy (Australopithecus) a hominid who lived around 3.2 million years ago was discovered. And at tiya archaeological site Middle Stone Age tools and megaliths have been found. The origin of Ethiopia is largely the origin of humankind. Therefore, Ethiopia is home to many of the most ancient hominid remains, yet to be discovered.

The Discovery of Lucy

Ethiopia’s first modern encounter with the ancient world was in 1974. And it made headline news everywhere. Also anthropologists around the world took note: “Lucy” had been discovered.At the head of the Great Rift Valley in a special place called Hadar, where the African and Arabian tectonic plates converge. A team from the Institute of Human Origins of Berkeley, California, found the oldest hominid remains discovered. Led by Donald Johanson, the team utilized the latest dating technology to put the partial skeleton at 3.5 million years old. Until this point, the oldest known fossil was 2.5 million years old.

As a result the fossil, which turned out to be female, and by Dr. Johanson’s girlfriend, suggested she be named “Lucy” after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” which was played in a camp shortly after the discovery and repeatedly during the night of the discovery. By Ethiopians’ she is known as “Dinkenesh” which means “you are wonderful” in Amharic.

A biped, Lucy stood about three and a half feet tall, and added support to Raymond Dart’s theory that australopithecines walked upright. Johanson and his team were also able to deduce from Lucy’s ribs that she was vegetarian. And from her curved finger bones that she was probably at home in trees.

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