Project Description

The Middle Awash research project in Ethiopia is an international multidisciplinary effort to elucidate human origins and evolution, conducted under permit from the Ethiopian Government (Authority for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Tourism).

The dual missions of the Middle Awash project are to generate knowledge through scientific research, and to build Ethiopian research and management capacity and infrastructure in archaeology, geology, and paleontology.

Because of its unique geological setting, the Middle Awash study area contains outcrops of sediments deposited in the Afar Basin over the last six million years.

The Middle Awash study area is one of the world's most important for paleoanthropology.  It has yielded ca. 260 hominid fossil specimens among ca. 17,400 collected vertebrate fossils.

The Middle Awash project conducts laboratory research year-around at the National Museum of Ethiopia where all of the recovered antiquities are permanently housed, and in laboratories worldwide where rock samples, replicas and scans of fossils, and other project-generated data are analyzed.

Middle Awash vehicle picture

Middle Awash outcrop