Refers to a section of the Awash River valley in Ethiopia
associated with the Afar Rift
. It is part of the East African Rift system and the Great Rift Valley
The Middle Awash is a fertile ground for paleontologists. Some of the oldest hominid fossils have been found there. The fossil bearing sediments of interest date from the Pliocene, Pleistocene, and especially the late Miocene.
The hominid fossils found there date from 2.5 million to 5.3 million years ago. "Lucy," believed to be the oldest known hominid directly related to homo sapiens, was found in the Middle Awash in 1974.