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ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVENTORY OF THE MEGALITHIC SITES OF AKSUM VICINITY AND SHIRE AREA [Abstract ID: 0102-16]
The Northwestern and Central regions of Tigray (including Shire and Aksum areas) were one of the major areas of Ethiopia where ancient civilizations occurred. The study area, being situated in this environment, is full of archaeological remains attesting past human achievements and stage of technological developments. Ruins of ancient settlements, center of rituals and religion, cemeteries (mostly rock cut tombs), megaliths and so on are some of the archaeological records found widely distributed in the vicinity of the research areas. The environments, especially the plain areas are littered with ceramics and lithics of different time periods indicating the continuous occupation of the area since pre-history to later times. The identification of several megalithic sites in the study area most of the time encircling the settlement sites do not only give clues for the stage of stone curving technologies but also the settlement patterns of the area under consideration. Hence settlement sites tend to be located in geographically commanding area near permanent water sources and fertile soils. The stela sites, assumed to be grave markers, are situated not far from the settlement areas relatively in less fertile spots. Possible means of transportations, mode of productions and ways of erecting big stela are suggested based on the results of the archaeological investigation (with the support of oral tradition) that I conducted.