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CRAFTING INCENSE BURNERS AS ARCHITECTURAL MODELS IN FIRST MILLENNIUM BC ABYSSINIAN HIGHLANDS [Abstract ID: 0103-02]
Incense burners and altars as architectural models in the 'so-called' Arabian style have been excavated recently from administrative and cultic contexts at many archaeological settlements in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. In this paper, I shall present a new typology for understanding those locally-made ceramic and stone incense burners as evidence of a widespread cultural interaction formed by complex interactions and exchanges over land relays and across the Red Sea in the first millennium BC. Some ethnographic data from the author’s anthropological survey of incense burner production in Ethiopia will accompany this presentation as a way to compare the processes for ceramic construction between both southern Arabia and the northern Highlands of the Aksumite Kingdom. The evidence demonstrates not only a strong cultural continuity for functions and styles but also many surprising divergences in the construction of locally made incense burners and altars across East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in the first millennium BC.