Olduvai Gorge

What is Olduvai Gorge​

The Gorge

The spectacular landscape of northern Tanzania, where Olduvai Gorge is situated, is the product of both abrupt high-energy processes like volcanism and plate tectonics and the slower low-energy processes of weathering and erosion operating together over millions of years. During this time, climate has varied from arid to semi-arid and the vegetation and animal populations both fluctuated with the availability of water. Feedback between climate and topography is particularly important in regions of high relief like the East African Rift System (EARS). The modern topography in northern Tanzania is the summation of the interaction of geologic, biologic, and hydrologic processes. Over time these processes have sculpted the Earth surface by erosion of high areas and the transport and deposition of this material into low areas.

Olduvai Gorge was created by the erosion of an incised valley draining water from the Ndutu lake into the OlBalBal depression located at the foot of Ngorongoro. It is part of the Serengeti migratory ecosystem. Erosion has carved its way through different geological strata spanning two million years; from the emergence of the genus Homo to the appearance of our species Homo sapiens. The gorge contains one of the richest and best preserved archaeological and paleontological records for the study of human evolution.

How was Olduvai Gorge

The Leakey expeditions

The exploratory expeditions to Olduvai undertaken by the Leakeys from 1931 to 1947 had the following goals: establishing a sequence of the evolutionary stages of culture across all beds, surveying the gorge to spot as many sites as possible for future selection for excavation, and obtaining a picture of the geological history of the gorge and its relevance to the climatic history of East Africa. What Leakey referred to as the second stage of research at Olduvai, initiated in the early 1950s, was focused on finding and excavating “living floors” to reconstruct “early man’s” behaviour. Extensive open air excavations were subsequently carried out at BK and SHK in Bed II. In the meantime, survey continued in Bed I, and by 1959, hominin fossils had been discovered at MK and, most spectacularly with the skull of Zinjanthropus (Paranthropus boisei), at FLK.

Discovery of Zinj

The discovery of Zinj switched temporarily the Leakey’s attention from the Bed II “living floors” to the Bed I “living floors”, and it yielded significant funding from the Wilkie and Wenner-Gren Foundations and from the National Geographic Society. This marked a crucial moment in East African paleoanthropology. For paleontology, it led to the discovery of some of the most important hominin fossils in decades, among them the first Homo habilis. For archaeology, it enabled the prolonged excavation of several sites during the 1960s and the horizontal exposure of some of the most impressive “living floors”. Still today, some of these sites (e.g., FLK Zinj) remain the most extensive open-air excavations carried out in early Pleistocene archaeology in Africa.

The abundant, well-preserved fossils and artifacts from these Olduvai Bed I sites have constituted the core of debates about early human behavior for the past half century.

Get in Touch

If you want to know more about Olduvai Gorge and our Project we invite you to get in touch with our expert team.

We use cookies to personalise content and to provide social media features. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Privacy Policy

  What information do we collect?
We collect information from you when you register on our site or place an order. When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address or mailing address.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information. We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to?keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be kept on file for more than 60 days.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business. If you prefer, you can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies via your browser settings. Like most websites, if you turn your cookies off, some of our services may not function properly. However, you can still place orders by contacting customer service.

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Updating your personal information

We offer a ‘My details’ page (also known as Dashboard), where you can update your personal information at any time, and change your marketing preferences. You can get to this page from most pages on the site – simply click on the ‘My details’ link at the top of the screen when you are signed in.

Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.
Save settings
Cookies settings
Scroll to Top