Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site

Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site

Location: 65 km (40 mi) South of Nairobi Map

Tel. 020 3742 161

Open: 8am- 6pm daily



Description of Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site

Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site is situated 65 km (40 mi) South of Nairobi in Kenya. It is famous archaeological site of ancient human settlements that date back to the Lower Palaeolithic Period (over 300,000 years ago). Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site is situated not far from Lake Magadi in the floor of the Eastern Rift Valley. The village existed here 600,000- 900,000 years ago on a shore of a dried up lake. Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site is particularly famous for numerous Acheulean (ancient culture) tools and weapons. Additionally archaeologists discovered bones of several species of animals that were butchered and eaten by residents of the site. Apparently humans liked a very diverse diet. They ate baboons, elephants, zebras, hippos, various species of fish and etc.


Ironically with all that diversity of animal bones scientists were able to find only one bone of Homo erectus in 2003. It is possible that the village in Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site belonged to these human specie or maybe he came to live with other hominids. Further archaeological digs is required to make a definitive conclusion. It is possible that ancient people used to leave their dead in the open grasslands for animals to consume the remains of the dead one or maybe they were buried on the cemetery that is yet to be discovered.


History of Archaeology on Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site

Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site was discovered accidentally in 1919 by the British geologist John Walter Gregory. He recorded the location and described the site, but he didn't attempt to start significant digs in the area. Archaeological digs have resumed under supervision of British archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey in 1943 during years of World War II. They were assisted by Italian prisoners of war. Archaeological digs in Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site resumed in 1960's, 1980's and in the 2000's.