Middle Awash

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The Middle Awash is an archaeological site along the Awash River in Ethiopia's Afar Depression. A number of Pleistocene and late Miocene hominid remains have been found at the site,[1] along with some of the oldest known Olduwan stone artifacts[2] and patches of fire-baked clay, disputed evidence of the use of fire.[3] Chimpanzee and human lineages are thought to have split around this time, somewhere between 5 million and 7 million years ago.[4]

Sediments at the site were originally deposited in lakes or rivers, and carbonates found there contain low carbon isotope ratios. This information suggests that, in contrast to the aridity of the current climate, the environment of the Middle Awash during the late Miocene was wet, and the region was occupied by woodland or grassy woodland habitats. The fossilized remains of vertebrates found with the hominids, including the cane rat, further suggest such an environment.[4] The region was also the site of periodic volcanism. This rifting probably created distinct ecological regions inhabited by different species of vertebrate animals.[5]

Important hominid fossils found in the Middle Awash include:[5][6]


  1. ^ "Middle Awash". About.com. Retrieved 2006-04-12. 
  2. ^ Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2000) [2000-04-30]. Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology. New York, NY: Kluwer Acad./Plenum Publ. ISBN 0-306-46158-7. 
  3. ^ Bogucki (1999) [1999-09-01]. Origins of Human Society. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-57718-112-3. 
  4. ^ a b "Late Miocene hominids from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia". Retrieved 2006-04-12. 
  5. ^ a b "Bimodal volcanism and rift basin development in the Middle Awash region, Ethiopia". Retrieved 2006-04-12. 
  6. ^ Borenstein, Seth. "New Fossil Links Up Human Evolution". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2006-04-13. [dead link]


See also[edit]

Coordinates: 10°0′0″N 40°0′0″E / 10.00000°N 40.00000°E / 10.00000; 40.00000