Olduvai Gorge

22nd August 2019

Located in the North of Tanzania lies one of the most important historical places on Earth. It is here that the earliest evolutionary remains of humans walking on two feet and using tools were found. Below you will find a some of the best bits you need to know about this historical place.

What is Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge is arguably the most important fossil sites in the world. Over thirty miles long and about three-hundred feet deep, the gorge is part of a World Heritage Site called the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is famous for the evolutionary discoveries of some of the earliest signs of human development.

Oludvai gorge
© Shutterstock

Where is Olduvai Gorge

Located in the Great Rift Valley, Olduvai Gorge is nestled between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. For anyone going on safari that is interested in archaeology and palaeontology, this is the place to visit!

 What did the Leakey’s discover in Olduvai Gorge?

A question that fascinates those interested in the history of humans is who discovered the bones of a hominid 1.8 million years old at Olduvai Gorge? Although the Leakey name is the one that attracts the most attention when Olduvai Gorge is mentioned, the site was actually visited by a couple of German archaeologists in the early 1900’s. They came across fossils of early hominin habitation and after the First World War, the Leakeys (Louis and Mary) travelled to Berlin to see these transported fossils. They surmised that the gorge could be holding evidence of stone tools which stemmed from the fact that the fossils in Berlin were around the same age as those Louis had uncovered in Kenya’s Kariandusi prehistoric site. Here he had found evidence of hand-axes.

human fossil
© Shutterstock

The Leakey’s are credited for most of the discoveries and excavations in Olduvai Gorge, it is here that they found the earliest signs of human technology. Evidence of hominids using tools makes it the earliest known evidence of the tool industry.

In the same area, evidence was also found of hominids walking on two feet. Hominid footprints that have been preserved in Volcanic Rock that date back over 3.5 million years represent some of the earliest signs of mankind walking upright.

The evidence found in the Gorge has revealed a great deal about society and the early development of human society from millions of years ago!

Visiting Olduvai Gorge

Today many of the excavation sites are still operational. Archaeologists still chip away hoping to find some more remnants of fossils from a by-gone era. Official guides can take you on a tour of the area and explain the history and importance of Olduvai Gorge whilst a small museum provides further evidence and explanatory features for you to browse through. Olduvai Gorge is a must for anyone thinking of safari in North Tanzania who wants to learn a bit about the history of our ancestors.

If this blog has got you thinking about a trip to Tanzania then make sure you contact us for free, impartial and honest advice. We would love to hear from you.