Archaeology in Tanzania
The history of Tanzania began almost four million years ago when our primitive ancestors first left the forest and walked upright onto the plains. Formed by massive earth upheavals of ages past, when the Rift Valley split East Africa from Mozambique to Ethiopia, the area was already home to an ape-like creature that stood on two legs. This ancient traveller left his footprints in Laetoli, northern Tanzania, to be discovered in 1979 by Mary Leakey, of the famous husband and wife archaeological team. The fossils proved to be the oldest “hominid” tracks so far unearthed During excavations twenty years earlier more evidence was discovered to support the view that Tanzania is the cradle of mankind. At nearby Olduvai Gorge, fossil remains of Homo habilis, or “Handy Man”, were dated by Dr Louis Leakey as 1.75 million years old. He believed that habilis Stri ce had the physical attributes and intelligence to make tools and, as such, was a possible direct ancestor of modern man.
This early relative eventually migrated from East Africa, its descendants returning centuries later from Asia, India, Europe and other parts of the continent as traders, warriors, farmers, craftsmen and explorers. Throughout the ages they intermingled, melding the people, their history, language, customs and culture into contemporary Tanzania
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