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The Middle Awash research project is a large, international, multidisciplinary effort to elucidate human origins and evolution within the stratigraphic setting of the southwestern corner of Ethiopia's Afar depression. Research into Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene epochs is currently underway, and results are constantly being published.
The Middle Awash palaeoanthropological study area was brought to the attention of the scientific community by the pioneering work of geologist Maurice Taieb. JonKalb and the Rift Valley Research Mission in Ethiopia conducted a preliminary survey of the area in the 1970s. The editors' research into the Acheulean archaeology of the area was initiated in 1981. The 1996 research season brought the project to a plateau of geological, archaeological, and palaeontological understanding that makes it possible to issue this report on research that will continue well into the future.