New archaeological sites discovered at Gona, Ethiopia

CENIEH led a new excavation campaign at Gona, in the Afar region where the earliest Oldowan industry in the world was found. This year the Board of Trustees of the Leakey Foundation visited the Gona site, a research project that the foundation supported for more than 20 years

This year Sileshi Semaw, archaeologist at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución humana (CENIEH), has led a new field survey and excavations at Gona (Ethiopia), where new archaeological sites have been discovered at Kilaitoli, a site dated to 14,000 years, where work began in 2019.

At Kilaitoli, located in the northeast part of Gona, the research team found a large number of Late Stone Age (LSA) artifacts primarily made of obsidian, including pyramidal cores, points, blades and bladelets, and ostrich eggshell beads. This year a long trench was excavated for archaeological and geological investigations at the YAS1-MSA site where lithic industry of obsidian and fine-grained rhyolite were found associated with faunal remains.

The Leakey Foundation

During the 2020 campaign, the Board of Trustees of the Leakey Foundation (a group of 17) visited Gona for the first time. The trip was organized by Sharal Camisa, Executive Director of the foundation. The Leakey Foundation supported Gona with generous funding for more than two decades.

Despite the inhospitable climate and the difficult terrain to navigate, the Trustees were thrilled with the unique opportunity to visit this area which is rich in archaeological sites, where the Oldowan industry dated to 2.6 million years, among the earliest in the world was discovered.