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IMPLICATION OF ETHNO ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY AND ITS NEW IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PREHISTORIC FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN SHIRE AREA, NORTHERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0101-07]
The aims of this paper are to reveal techniques and the social context under which Teff establish the implications for the antiquity food producing, and understand the social and cultural symbolic values of Teff beyond its economic importance. The Shire plateau has been considered as an important agricultural area in Ethiopia for its fertile soil and groundwater availability. The black silt soil, distributed throughout the so-called Shire plateau has greater ability of retaining water and moisture that enables cultivation of crops, grasses and to grow for pasture even in less rainfall. The people living in this particular region are permanently subsisted. The people practice both farming and herding. They cultivate mainly teff (Eragrostis tef) followed by maize, finger millet and beans. The study is based on the data gathered mainly from personal, participatory experiences, observation and a pilot survey of ethnoarchaeological studies conducted in the Shire plateau in December and June 2015 and 2016. Teff is cultivated in an extensive area with more complex use of agricultural tools and specialized traditional farming technology than any other cereals cultivated in this area and involves intensive land preparation for each plot before sewing the Teff. Teff also requires a particular way of land preparation, ceremonial rituals from its cultivation to its harvest and threshing processes. Though the people cultivate other cereals for higher production, less labor and technical expertise, they prefer to cultivate Teff mainly for two general reasons: 1) for its high nutritional value and 2) for the higher social recognition and prestige of farming Teff. A farmer with good ability and skill of production of Teff enjoys greater prestige than any other farmer in his village. More interestingly, those farmers are also considered as descendants of the native settlers of the area and the best farmers who could produce other cereals easily.