Olduvai Gorge Shelter

The earliest claim for a paleolithic habitation construction (of Homo erectus archaic humans?) dating c.1.75 million years BCE, located in the Lower Bed I of the Olduvai Gorge, in present-day Tanzania, Africa. This site was discovered by Mary Leakey in 1971. The site yielded evident traces of man-made features, the most important of which consists of stacked basaltic blocks in an annular structure, c. 4.5 meters in diameter, which Leakey interpreted as resembling "temporary structures often made by present-day nomadic peoples who build a low stone wall round their dwellings to serve either as windbreak or as a base to support upright branches which are over and covered with either skin or grass". This structure is evidence of a human consciousness--solving of the problem of shelter in the mind of the builders, prior to the actual construction of the solution, reminding us of the Viollet-le-Duc's tale of the the building of the "first hut" (see page ). This site is the oldest claimed evidence of "architecture".

Elevation: 1427 meters (4682 feet) above sea level.

Leakey, Mary D., 1971; Olduvai Gorge. Excavations in beds I & II 1960–1963. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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