Institute of Archaeology


Palaeoanthropological research in the Ethiopian Rift Valley

Excavations in the Middle Pleistocene of Mieso (Ethiopia)

Since 2006 Ignacio de la Torre has led a palaeoanthropological project in the Rift valley of Ethiopia, surveying several Plio-Pleistocene sites in the Ethiopian central Rift (Bilate valley) and the Afar triangle, in search of new Pleistocene localities.

Fieldwork began at the Bilate region (Ethiopian Central Rift). This survey led to the documentation of several archaeological sites along the Western bank of the Bilate river. Most of these sites are Middle and Later Stone Age, but some date to the Early Stone Age.

In subsequent years, surveys were extended to the Afar region, where a new paleoanthropological sequence, that of Mieso, was discovered.

Recent excavations in Mieso are providing exciting new data on the Middle and Upper Pleistocene archaeology of Ethiopia, and will help to characterize the Acheulean and Later Stone Age sequences of East Africa.

Related outputs

  • Benito-Calvo, A., de la Torre, I., Mora, R., Tibebu, D., Morán, N. & Martínez-Moreno, J. (2007). Geoarchaeological potential of the western bank of the Bilate River (Ethiopia). Analele Universităţii din Oradea, Seria Geografie XVII, 99-104.
  • Torre, I. de la, Benito-Calvo, A., Mora, R., Martínez-Moreno, J., Morán, N. & Tibebu, D. (2007). Stone Age occurrences in the western bank of the Bilate River (Southern Ethiopia) - Some preliminary results. Nyame Akuma, 67, 14-25.
  • Torre, I. de la, Benito-Calvo, A. (2009). Primeras prospecciones geoarqueológicas en el valle de Mieso (sur de Afar, Etiopía) Excavaciones en el exterior 2008. Informes y trabajos 3, 39-43.
  • Torre, I. de la, Benito-Calvo, A. & Mora, R. (2008). Prospecciones arqueológicas españolas en el valle del Rift etíope: campaña de 2007. Excavaciones en el exterior 2007. Informes y trabajos. Madrid: Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España, 33-38.


  • Spanish Ministry of Culture
  • British Academy
  • Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain