The Lower Omo Valley is located in South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) in Debub Omo Zone. It is 700 kms away from Addis Ababa in south-west direction. The site’s absolute location is 4°80` North and 35°97` East.
Location of Lower Omo Valley
The pre-historic site of the Lower Omo valley is well documented owing to the research undertaken during the 1930’s by Professor Camille Aramburg and from 1968 to 1976 by a team of paleontologists and pre- historians. The discoveries of humanoid fossils in the valley include jaw bones, quantities of detached teeth and fragments of the australopithecines.
Further, evidence of the oldest known humanoid technical activity have been found in this region, as well as stone objects which attest to an encampment of pre-historic beings among the oldest known today.
The uniqueness of this site is that the discoveries here are representative of important developments in the domain of cultural activities qualify the lower valley of the Omo to be included in the world heritage list under criteria nos.3 although this site was placed under the protection of the Administration of Antiquities in 1969 .In the Lower Valley of the Omo, Aouche has been well preserved, although it is vulnerable to the pillage of antiquity hunters.
The site has been listed as a world heritage site in 1980.It extends over an area of 165 2km. The age- old sedimentary deposits are now world renowned for the discovery of many hominid fossils, that have been of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution. Researched evidence from the site has established bio-stratigraphical, radiometric and magneto-stratigraphical scales spanning between one and 3.5 million years.
The Lower Omo Valley includes Fejej paleontological research locations with sedimentary deposit going back to the plio-pleistocene period. This world heritage other than Fejej has significant minor sites as Usno, Kibish and Shangura .They have fossils of fish, reptiles and mammals in abundance. These have produced numerous hominid and animal fossils, including fragments of Australopithecus. The deposits of human vertebrae fauna, and paleo-environmental evolution, shed light on the earliest stages of the origins and development of Homo sapiens of Africa and a marked evidence in physical evolution next to the valley of Middle Awash valley (Lucy) world heritage site.
The discoveries of ancient stone tools or achuelian tools in an encampment also offer evidence of the oldest known technical activities of the pre-historic human beings. Although excavation in the area was known beginning 1890’s through Kenya it is after 1966, that the scientific research has proved the sites’ significant contribution to the prominent archaeological, geological, paleo-anthropological and paleo-environmental studies. It also bears exceptional witness to important developments in the field of cultural development and draws many visitors.
. The most important and known sites for Paleo-anthropological study: Shungura (Between3.3-0.8milion years ago), Usno & Mursi (about 4.1mya), Kibish (younger sediments), formations. All theses formations are found within the lower-Omo in Debub Omo Zone.
partial view of Lower Omo Valley