Gorge is an archaeological site located in the eastern Serengeti Plains. The gorge
is a steep sided ravine roughly 30 miles long and 295 ft. deep. Exposed deposits
show rich fossil fauna, many hominid remains and items belonging to the one of
the oldest stone tool technologies. The time span of the objects recovered date
from 15,000 years ago to over 2 million years ago.
In 1959 the skull of
zinjanthropus was discovered by Dr. Leakey at the Olduvai Gorge. zinjanthropus
is believed to have lived 1.8 million years ago. In the 1970's the foot-prints
of animals and early hominids dating back to 3.5 million years were found by Mary
Leakey at Laetoli, some 45 kms south of Olduvai Gorge.
In 1974 fossils of
hominid tooth were discovered, dating back to 2.4 million years. Engaruka Site,
discovered not very far from Olduvai is believed to be an ancient settlement of
a later civilisation. Between half a million and a million years ago, "Homo
Erectus" , who stood upright, wondered around making use of hand axes. Many
such tools were found at Olduvai.
Skeletal remains of hominids on the oldest
bed of the gorge are assigned to the Homo Habilis an Australopithecus Boisei families.
Campsites and what is believed to be a butchery site have also been excavated
from this bed. The Hominid living sites in Bed I are found mainly where streams
from the volcanic highlands carried fresh water to Olduvai lake. The conditions
for the preservation of the sites is mainly due to the ash falls from the nearby
volcanoes. The debris found at the sites are various tools, bone and teeth from
animals, mainly from fair sized antelopes. Also a loosely built circle of lava
blocks was found, suggesting that crude shelters were formed here as well.
latest of the archaeological Beds is the Naisiusiu. It lays in the bottom of the
Gorge at what is now the present depth. It only has a depth of 33 ft. It contains
one site that has microlithic tools and one complete Homo Sapien skeleton, both
of which date to 17,000 years ago.
More than 150 different species of extinct
mammals have been identified from the fossils, as well as many birds, reptiles,
amphibians and fish. An on-site museum explains the archeological significance
of the discoveries. This area, it seems, is indeed the "Cradle of Mankind".