Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Jean-François BRETON, CNRS. ArsCAN. UMR 7041. Maison Ginouvès. Nanterre. France / aff. member of the PhD programme in History and Cultural Studies, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
YOHANNES Aytenew, Mekelle University, Department of History and Heritage Management, Head, Ethiopia

The town of Kwiha, some 10 km east of Mekelle, shows continuous human occupation starting from Bronze Age (third millennium ca) throughout the Axumite times to medieval period. Archaeological evidence suggest that the rock shelter in Kwiha, excavated in 1940, used to be the place where obsidian lithics and later ceramics were produced. Kwiha and its surroundings were occupied during the Axumite period (and maybe during pre-Axumite period?). To the northeast of the city, a stone building consists of carved pillars of a possible church (Enda Qirqos) or a domestic building, and to the northwest, three long stone pillars remain of an important building. Because Kwiha is situated on the trade route linking the Afar depression with its traditional salt-mines, it was considered as a trading center probably from Ancient times and throughout the medieval period. From the Muslim cemetery come a great number of Islamic steles ranging from the 10th cent. till the 13th cent. The Department of History and Heritage Management of Mekelle University started in 2014 a long-term program of surveys at Kwiha and already collected a great number of potteries. The lecture deals about the preliminary assessment of these short surveys with a special focus on pottery.The aim of the study was an evaluation of Kwiha ancient territory, its natural resources and its soil occupation. Therefore the study concentrated mainly on the Western and Northern parts of the site irrigated by two permanent rivers: May Bandera and Dollo- Gambela. One preliminary conclusion could be emphasized: as all the surveyed areas display coarse-wares, it should mean that all these areas were probably occupied during Antiquity.