Lower Awash

Lower Awash valleyJust over the bridge, turn right to follow a dirt road to the archaeological site of Melka Konture. (It is best that you check with the Antiquities Administration in Addis first.) Since 1965, geologists and archaeologists have had a compound here, set up to excavate this area at the entrance to the gorge where, two million years ago, the earliest ancestors of mankind had a home.

They left behind tools, as well as traces of meals and shelters. In the lowest levels pebble tools have been found and, in the higher levels, men of the Middle and Late Stone Age have left many examples of beautiful two-edged hand-axes, obsidian scrapers, and sets of 'bolas' - the round stones used together in nets to throw at animals. Fossilized bones of hippopot­amus, rhinoceros, elephant, and various antelope have also been found here.

If you walk upstream along the banks of the river, some of these Stone Age tools can often be seen, particularly in the dry washes. Remember, however, that collect­ing of Stone Age artefacts is prohibited, and local citizens help to enforce this re­striction.

Lucy, 3.5 million years old, and the recent discovery Ramides, 4.4 million years old hominid fossil, are discovered in Haddar, along the Awash River, east of the country. They completed the missing link between Apes and men.

Melka Konture is also an important archeological site where 1.5 million years old stone tools were found. Several cave paintings and stone monuments are found in different parts of the country like Dilla, southern Ethiopia and Dire Dawa, eastern Ethiopia.