Melka Kunture

Melka Kunture:

Melka Kunture is a Paleolithic site in the upper Awash Valley, Ethiopia. It is located 50 kilometers South of Addis Ababa. Specifically, by the road across the Awash River from the village of Melka Awash. Melka Kunture is found within a latitude and longitude of 8°41′0″N 37°38′0″E. Three waterfalls lie downstream of the bridge across the Awash, which provides access South to Butajira.

The site is discovered by Gerard Dekker in 1963. It was surveyed by Gérard Bailloud in 1964, and then systematically explored by a French mission directed by Jean Chavaillon (1965-1982 / 1993-1995). Since 1999, an Italian mission directed by Marcello Piperno has worked at the site. Typically an  agreement was made with the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage of the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau was part of the agreement.


Archaeologists have uncovered over 30 occupation sites at Melka Kunture. The finds are dated by volcanic depositions left by eruptions of mount Zuqualla, which is northeast of Melka Kunture. The sequence begins with the old town site of Karre about 1.7 million years old. Which can be correlated to level B of Gombore I, on the right bank of the Awash. A probably contemporaneous Old town site is documented at Garba IV.

A museum was built at the site by the Oromia Culture and Tourism Commission. Certainly, with financial assistance from the European Community. Hence, the museum consists of four buildings with exhibits. These are on prehistoric Africa, another on geology and volcano-logy, a third on paleo-anthropology and the fourth on the prehistory of Melka Kunture. There is also an “Open Air Museum,” which displays the excavation of two Acheulean sites. They have been dated to 0.8 million years BP. Currently a new museum is under construction, which is funded by the World Bank. 


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