International experts have begun exhuming a famous set of 3.6 million-year-old human footprints from an ancient river bed at Laetoli near the Ngorongoro Crater conservation area 250km east of Arusha.

The move has divided the scientific world on how best to preserve the 23-metre area containing the footprints, believed to be the oldest link to our hominid ancestors.

A team including experts from ICCROM, the Getty Conservation Institute of Los Angeles and the University of Dar es Salaam is overseeing the digging of the ash bed in an effort to ascertain the condition of the bedrock. Once this is known, scientists will decided whether or not to relocate the footprints to the planned