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AKSUM’S VANISHING PAST: THE NEED FOR DOCUMENTATION AND CONSERVATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN AKSUM (ETHIOPIA): CASE OF ADDI GUATIYA. [Abstract ID: 0102-08]
The destruction of archaeological sites occurs globally today, largely because of fast growing industrialization, accompanied by mega projects such as urbanization, hydroelectric installations, and road construction. These developments take place at a rapid pace thereby negatively impacting the archaeological heritage resources. The intervention to save cultural heritage resources has proceeded slowly in general for several reasons: insufficient financial resources, lack of awareness, negligence, and absence of prior documentation practice. As a result, non-renewable archaeological resources are too often damaged and lost forever. Aksum, the capital of ancient Aksumite Kingdom, and one of the most important archaeological sites in Ethiopia, was registered on the World Heritage List in 1980. Its archaeological and cultural heritage continues to be a victim of urbanization, road construction, erosion and deposition. Despite increased efforts to create awareness and issues within the field of archaeology, the destruction of archaeological and cultural heritage sites of Aksum has been staggering. This paper examines a case of recently damaged potential site by bulldozer during road construction at Addi Guatiya (Aksum) and provides a call for an urgent intervention to its conservation. It also discusses issues related to heritage management and legislation, and solutions to mitigate cultural heritage destruction in Aksum and its vicinity. The present article suggests one of the effective ways to alleviate destruction of Aksum cultural heritage is through a continued documentation and educational initiative to the general public in order to enhance the level of awareness about heritage management.