Yonas Beyene Gebremichael is a paleoanthropologist well recognized for his work in paleoanthropological research areas named Konso, Middle Awash, Fejej and Chorora, in Ethiopia. He is particularly known for his paleoanthropological findings of the world’s earliest Acheulean technology and its development at Konso between 1.75 and 0.8 million years before present. Yonas Beyene was born in Gore town, Ilubabor, Ethiopia in 1956 and pursued his studies in Ethiopia for his undergraduate degree; and for his graduate studies, in France at the National Natural History Museum (MNHN), Paris where he earned his Ph.D. in 1992 in Quaternary: Geology, Human paleontology and Prehistory, specializing in Prehistory. He was on Postdoctoral research to the University of California, Berkley in 1992. He has been head of the research and laboratory departments at the ARCCH, Ethiopia, facilitating archaeological and paleoanthropological research and research facilities for about 30 years. He was member of the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO, representing Ethiopia between 2009 and 2012. He led the effort that led to, and wrote the “Nomination File” that enabled the inscription of the Konso Cultural Landscape on World Heritage List in 2012. He is member of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and recipient of “Palmes Academiques” of the French Ministry of national education, higher learning and research.

Research Interests

The study of biological and cultural evolution of hominids needs a large team of professionals working together. Understanding the environment we evolved in is also very essential. That is why we need to conduct more field work in old rocks that could provide us with more data, and find more sites that enable us to understand our evolutionary history. It is only since the last 2.6 million years ago that stone tool making became a culture; an event possibly triggered by major environmental change and an event accompanied with the appearance of the first Homo. Since then, human biological evolution broadly appears to go side by side with the changes in stone tool technologies. Research suggests that the making of the first handaxes roughly coincided with the appearance of Homo ergaster/erectus by circa 1.8 Ma. Throughout the history of stone tool technology commonly known as the Acheulean techno-complex which lasted for close to 1.5 million years (from approximately 1.75 - 0. 3Ma), which covers the longest portion of the history of Homo, we have travelled through a complex and yet not well understood biological steps and technological process. It is with this question in mind that my work in the Konso and Middle Awash research areas is pursued. I equally try to understand the functioning of human/environment interactions through the study of Bio-Cultural Landscapes of traditional societies and Indigenous Knowledge adapting to different environmental settings, drylands vs. wetland, as in the Konso and Gedeo areas; thereby supporting Heritage Management efforts.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 51: Anthropology