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A NEW COMMUNITY-BASED PRESERVATION APPROACH FOR HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IN SHIRE AREA [Abstract ID: 0102-10]
The archaeological site of May Adrasha is found in the nonwestern zone of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. It is among the most archaeologically important sites revealing an enormously rich material culture roughly dated to proto-Aksumite, pre-Aksumite and to the Aksumite times. It is among the rare sites in northern Ethiopia which yielded some evidence from pre-Aksumite through the so called proto-Akusumite to the Aksumite culture and its relationships with the contemporaneous Middle Nile Valley cultures. An archaeological field survey and direct observation conducted in this area in June 2015 revealed that, despite its scientific and historical significance, the archaeological sites in this are experiencing growing and devastating damage through illegal excavations of in-situ archaeological materials. The research also indicated that the area is attracting local residents not only for its rich gold mine but also for treasure hunting to be sold in the nearby town Indaslassie. Though gold mining in this area was reported in previous studies as a main threat to the site, hunting for the heritage materials for their market value was still growing, devastating destruction being a challenge even for another yet intact archaeological site nearby. Since the last two years, the community seems to understand the historic and economic importance of saving the site with a new concept of community education and engagement introduced by a new archaeological research project in the area. The aim of this study is to discuss and evaluate the new method of archaeological research in Shire as for archaeological management and monitoring of the site in the study area.