East Africa is often thought of as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ given the discoveries at Olduvai Gorge by Louis Leakey and the ancient footprints at Laetoli.
However, 20 km south of Iringa is the Isimila Stone Age site, which has long been recognized as a key site of international importance for understanding the behavioral complexity of our hominin ancestors.
The site is a dry bed of a former shallow lake, discovered in 1951, amid a landscape of small canyons and eroded sandstone pillars, it is one of a handful of sites to illuminate the ecology of the later Acheulean hand axe makers who occupied Africa between roughly 700,000 and 200,000 years ago. There is a museum with small, well-captioned displays highlighting some of the finds
The trip to the site begins at the little museum where a guide gives a brief introduction to the formation of the site and explains more about the fossils and tools that are displayed. The trip then continues into the canyon down a steep footpath. Once there the guide showed us some of the beds where the tools were found and explained how the rock towers were formed. The walk is very scenic, the earth has a warm reddish tint and it is also a good spot to see birds.
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