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Kesem Kebena project, Ethiopia

A dam on the Kesem River in Ethiopia is nearing completion, and a sister dam on the Kebena River is planned for the near future. The Kesem-Kebena salvage project aimed to mitigate the destruction of Pliocene and Pleistocene paleoanthropological resources threatened by the insipient reservoirs, dam related construction activities, and ancillary development through archaeological salvage operations. The Ethiopian government, represented by Ato Jara Haile-Mariam of the Ethiopian Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), Ministry of Culture and Tourism formally invited the principal investigator of the salvage project proposed here to undertake this endeavor. The project existed as a permitted project of the ARCCH. It was composed of an international team of researchers and students centered around collections in the National Museum of Ethiopia. The goal of the initial Kesem Kebena project was to salvage archaeological and paleontological resources that were in danger of being destroyed by construction activities, agriculture, population relocation, and other development associated with both the Kesem and Kebena reservoirs. Results of this work included the salvage of antiquities, production of detailed records of rescued localities, reports to the Ethiopian ARCCH, and the curation of material salvaged in the National Museum of Ethiopia. All collected material resides in the National Museum of Ethiopia and is the property of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

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