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[PANEL] 0101 INTER-DISCIPLINARY INTERCONNECTIONS FOR THE SCIENTIFIC GROWTH OF ETHIOPIAN ARCHAEOLOGY
ALEMSEGED Beldados, Jinka University/Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
A. Catherine D’ANDREA, Simon Fraser University, Canada
ZEWDU Eshetu, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Valery J. TERWILLIGER, University of Kansas, USA
DEGSEW Zerihun; MISGANAW Gebremichael; NEGASI Awetehey Nega; TESFAYE Wondifraw Tsegaye;
YEMANE Meresa; Alemseged BELDADOS; TILAHUN Asefa; SHEGALEM Fekadu; HIRUY Daniel Tefera;
AYELE Bekerie; A. Catherine D'ANDREA; Valery J. TERWILLIGER; GOITOM Weldehawerait
Archaeology by its nature is both a scientific and humanistic discipline. Its methods in many cases are scientific but its results –multi-faceted reconstructions of past human culture are humanistic. It adopts concepts from Geology, Geo-physics, Biology, Chemistry and related fields of studies from the natural sciences and also benefits from social science disciplines such as history, geography, social anthropology, and linguistics. Researchers working in Ethiopia have recently begun to integrate modern techniques to understand the biological and cultural evolutions of past human beings and their Paleo-environmental contexts. Examples of these techniques include isotopic analyses, geographic information systems, geophysics, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, charcoal analysis, ground penetrating radars and satellite imagery, and ethno-archaeology. Archaeology majors are given in both undergraduate and graduate levels in a number of Universities in Ethiopia. It’s high time to examine the status of archaeological knowledge and archaeological research in Ethiopia and share the state of the art with students and practitioners of archaeology, Heritage Management and Museum studies in Ethiopia. The main objectives of this panel are, therefore, to examine how much a study of archaeology and heritage management benefits from other disciplines, debate about the state of the art, share knowledge with Ethiopian academicians, students and practitioners, and to catch up with methodological scientific developments from other parts of the world. Ethiopian graduate students in archaeology, paleo-environment and other related fields are highly encouraged to present their methods of research in the conference and acquire feedbacks from colleagues. We, thus, invite colleagues to share their methodological approaches in the scientific study of the past.
A PRELIMINARY REPORT ON KUDINA KAYILU ROCK ART SITE, AFAR NATIONAL REGIONAL STATE [Abstract ID: 0101-04]
An archaeological survey funded by the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH) was conducted in the Afar national regional state of eastern Ethiopia in 2017. The main objective of the research was to document new archaeological sites in the Afar region. Accordingly, a survey was conducted in Asayita and Mille area of the region. This abstract will only focus on the survey of Mille woreda. The researchers employed a ground reconnaissance survey using GPS and photography. Furthermore, the recorded pictures were traced for further analysis documentation in the ARCCH. As a result, the team was able to identify a new rock art site of Kudina Kayilu in the Mille woreda which is about 37 km south of the town. The study of rock art and other historical archaeology sites in Afar Regions has been neglected. The rich potential of fossils in the area has drawn world prolific paleontologists and archaeologists to conduct various researches on both the biological and cultural evolution of human beings. However, none of them were able to conduct or report a single research on the rock art site of the area. The Mille woreda is currently under study by a group of researchers from all over the world led by the famous Ethiopian Dr Yohannis Hailesillasie. The team has been recovering a number of hominid fossils for the past decades including the recent discovery of a new species called Dyromeda. What makes the new rock art site unique is that, unlike most rock art sites in Ethiopia, it is not depicted on a rock shelter or a cave, instead it is portrayed on a basalt boulder. In this rock art, both pictograph and petroglyph were found and they are exhibited in more than 10 panels. In addition, humpless and humped cattle, snake, ostrich and geometric figures are also depicted. Even though the rock art site depicts all type of styles, the dominant ones are the characteristics of the second stage of the Ethiopian-Arabian style of 1970’s Cervicek classification.
AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE ROCK ART SITE OF EMBA TSEGUROM, GENDEBTA, TIGRAY [Abstract ID: 0101-11]
The Horn of Africa has numerous rock paintings and engravings. They are composed of both representational and non-representational images. These corpses of rock art, according to the recently accepted stylistic classification, are called Arabian-Ethiopian styles. Two patterns of development of rock art in the region are identified: the earliest style as "Surre-Hanakiya’’ (c.3000-1000bc) where as the second stage is called "Dahthami Style Proper’’ (after 1000bc). The dominant theme of the rock art in the region is pastoralism- cattle are the dominant motifs. The rock art studied, emba Tsegurom paintings lies on the Tigrean plateau, in one of the hills surrounding the pre-Aksumite main ceremonial center Yeha. With a departure point to contribute documented material data and help compensate the dearth of archaeological evidences in the early historic periods in the Northern Horn, the researcher photographed, traced and described the paintings meticulously. The documented data was tested against the archaeological and rock art literatures mainly of the Northern Horn of Africa. The subjects in the art include animals, humans, and other non-representational images. Thematically, the rock art depicts hunting scenes, pastoral scenes, plowing scenes and a fighting figure. The rock paintings in the dominant paintings have three layers of color paintings. The 1st layer beneath all is black with red above then thickly above all white. The rock art created there seems mainly because of the presence of human access to the area with geological suitability and presence of people with such tradition inheritance. The overall comparison indicates that the art be dated to the transition periods from BC to AD. The question of authorship as substantiated with contemporary civilizations tends to indicate the ancient Ethiopians, themselves. The paintings are also informative of ancient environment and subsistence, art and chemistry knowledge, selective preference on communication mediums and human attachment to animals. The art seems a legacy from earlier Ethiopian rock art, roots for later traditional paintings. Finally, the researcher hypothesized such arts are depicted by the local specialists to create communication among peoples. The rock art is in peril because of both natural and anthropogenic factors. Hence, they need urgent preservation measures.
AN ETHNOARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY OF HIDE WORKING WITH IRON SCRAPERS IN EAST GOJJAM, NORTH WESTERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0101-02]
In northwestern Ethiopia, hide working is a skilled practice that involves turning raw hides into processed leather products. Hide workers used iron blades in wood hafts for scraping with plant oils for hair removal, softening, and coloring the hides. The study uniquely focuses on the specialized use of iron scrapers, which establishes a strong relationship between hide workers and ironsmiths who are the sole suppliers of the tool. No archaeological record relating to iron hide working scrapers nor the process of smelting and smith of iron is available for Ethiopia except recovery of iron slags from some Aksumite sites. This paper offers ethnographic study and description (chain operatoire) of the procurement, production, and use of hides with iron scrapers among the Amhara living in Enarj Enawga and Enemay districts of northwestern Ethiopia. The objective was to reveal details about the production, use, and discard of hides and iron scrapers. I focus on how the local history of changes in raw material use for the scraping blade, and how tools are produced by iron smiths and subsequently hafted, transformed in shape and size through use, recycled into other tools, and eventually discarded by hide workers.
ARCHAEOBOTANICAL EVIDENCES FROM PRE-AKSUMITE AND AKSUMITE TIMES IN EASTERN TIGRAY: LESSONS FROM ONA-ADI [Abstract ID: 0101-03]
Archaeobotanical analysis was conducted on a total of one thousand four hundred seventy five (n=1475) botanical remains in eastern Tigray, particularly at the site of Ona Adi. The objective of the study was to examine the agricultural economy in eastern Tigray (Gulomekeda) during the Pre-Aksumite period and its subsequent development during the Aksumite period, with a special emphasis on developments during the Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite transition. Soil samples (38.5 kilos) were also analyzed from various excavation spots at Ona Adi. The result of this study demonstrated the subsistence basis of the inhabitants from Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite periods. Moreover, it provides new insights into the agricultural economy of the region. Botanical remains include Hordeum vulgare (barley), Triticum durum/aestivum (free-threshing wheat), Lens culinaris (lentil), Linum usitatissimum (linseed), Guizotia abyssinica (noog), Eragrostis tef (t’ef), Eleusine coracana (finger millet), and other wild/weed. These findings revealed an important agricultural histo
ETHNOARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY OF POTTERY PRODUCTION AT GAWEE AND EDEGA ARBI VILLAGES OF SOUTHEASTERN TIGRAY, ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0101-05]
Ethnoarchaeological study was conducted on pottery production in Gawee and Edega Arbi villages of southeastern Tigray region. The purpose of the study was to investigate the overall aspects of pottery production from an ethnoarchaeological perspective so as to gain a better understanding of pottery in the archaeological record by making comparisons between the two villages. The data gathered through survey, observation and interviews with purposefully selected informants were analyzed qualitatively. Accordingly, the study indicates that clay is the basic element for pottery making, while sand, unfired potsherds and donkey dung are identified as tempering materials across the selected villages. However, all clay products could not be treated by the same type of temper. This consequently would help a great deal to understand the potential source area of archaeological potsherds in the study area. In the study area, potters acquire raw materials for pot making not far from their production areas and this could help to distinguish between imported and locally manufactured clay objects. In the study area, pottery production is generally performed step by step starting by collecting of raw material and lasting with firing. Though there is some difference in some processes of pot making among potters of the villages, none of these differences reveal variation in ethnicity but could tell us the existence of local specialization. The presence of similarities in some aspects, however, could indicate the prevalence of socio-cultural contact among the artisans at intra and inter-village levels. As potters performed most of their manufacturing process in their compound, firing pits with debris of ash, fragments of pots and toolkits used for pottery making could be left there. Besides, pots could be broken and discarded at market places and non-potter households of consumers and eventually enter into the archaeological record. Thus, this study indicates pottery production areas, market places and households of consumers, non-potters, could become sources of archaeological site formation in the study area.
ETHNOARCHAEOLOGY OF GRINDING STONES IN SIMADA, SOUTH GONDAR ZONE NORTH WESTERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0101-12]
Grinding stones are found in every prehistoric archaeological site and it was the only grinding tool technology for the preparation of food in prehistoric households. Moreover, in the Northern Ethiopia's archaeological sites, abundance of grinding stones are discovered in every excavation context. However, due to limited ethnoarchaeological study, archaeologists neglect it to interpret the past. The study was conducted in three kebeles of Simada wereda found in South Gondar, Amhara Region. It relied on both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. The primary data were collected through observation, interviews, survey and photographic documentation. In Simada woreda grinding stones are produced from two type of sites, namely river banks and cutting from the rock and the nature of rock selected for grinding stone determine its life expectancy. The primary function of grinding stones in the house is for the preparation of food and it has a strong link with Teff, finger millet, noug, linseed and other spices. Besides, it used to process cotton and to measure kilo during exchange of goods. It used as a source of income for producers and economic prestige between the society. In regard to labor division, men are producing the tool and the rest part in the hand of women. Furthermore, food residues remain within the pores of the stone and preserve it for a long period of time and make it a potential for archaeobotanical study. Finally, the research went through the discarded grinding stones and it was a pioneer evidence for presence of unknown human occupation in a particular place. To conclude, in comparison with grinding stone excavated from Lalibela and Natchaibet caves, the use of grinding stone in the region is a continuation from the ancient time to present day.
HERITAGE AS SOCIOCULTURAL PROCESS: THE CASE OF ADI MA’AR AND ITS SURROUNDINGS [Abstract ID: 0101-08]
The idea of heritage as a sociocultural process of communication, value and meaning making indeed as an experience is at odds with professional discourses that privileges expert values and knowledge about the past and its material manifestations. Those professional discourses largely reflect the Western idea of cultural heritage which links heritage authenticity with measurable attributes such as age, monumentality and aesthetic values. Non-Western societies, including indigenous communities, are questioning the dominant Eurocentric perceptions of heritage, and the consequences that the dominance of these perceptions have had on their ability to define the values and maintain dynamic and continuous relationships with objects and sites deemed to be culturally significant. Objects and sites on their own cannot have intrinsic values independent from the people and their history; as the source of emotions, identities and values they help a community develop shared experience thus strengthening social bonds, networks and relationships in a meaningful way. To illustrate the strong sense community that was created around values emanating from heritage site I want to present in this paper the case of Adi Ma’ar village and the surrounding regions. Located about 26 km to the north of the town of Mekelle, Adi Ma’ar village and its surrounding is a place where we find a strong oral tradition that link the locality and its archaeological sites to religious figures, Abune Yeasa’y and Abune Ewostatewos. The authenticity of the account has never been studied by “professionals”, making it difficult for the community to get assistance from state for the maintenance of the sites, nevertheless their upkeep is assured by the community who by continually using the heritage for religious and social occasions, ensures the preservation of both sites and their shared communal values.
HISTORICAL ECOLOGY: AN APPROACH TO THE INVESTIGATION OF ANCIENT HUMAN-ENVIRONMENTAL INTERACTIONS IN THE HORN OF AFRICA [Abstract ID: 0101-10]
Recent archaeological survey, excavation, ethnoarchaeological and palaeoenvironmental research conducted in northeastern Tigrai by the Eastern Tigrai Archaeological Project (ETAP) has produced new insights into the Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite periods (>800 BCE-CE 700). The principal ETAP excavations thus far include the Pre-Aksumite site of Mezber (1600 BCE-1CE) and Ona Adi (c. early 1st millennium CE) which was occupied during the Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite transition. Both sites were occupied during times of widely ranging cultural developments. This paper will provide the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental context for a new ETAP interdisciplinary partnership which is investigating what role, if any, environment and human-environmental interaction had in the: 1) origins of social complexity during the Pre-Aksumite period and; 2) the Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite transition. Archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and traditional knowledge studies are integrated within a framework of historical ecology.
IMPLICATION OF ETHNO ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY AND ITS NEW IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PREHISTORIC FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN SHIRE AREA, NORTHERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0101-07]
The aims of this paper are to reveal techniques and the social context under which Teff establish the implications for the antiquity food producing, and understand the social and cultural symbolic values of Teff beyond its economic importance. The Shire plateau has been considered as an important agricultural area in Ethiopia for its fertile soil and groundwater availability. The black silt soil, distributed throughout the so-called Shire plateau has greater ability of retaining water and moisture that enables cultivation of crops, grasses and to grow for pasture even in less rainfall. The people living in this particular region are permanently subsisted. The people practice both farming and herding. They cultivate mainly teff (Eragrostis tef) followed by maize, finger millet and beans. The study is based on the data gathered mainly from personal, participatory experiences, observation and a pilot survey of ethnoarchaeological studies conducted in the Shire plateau in December and June 2015 and 2016. Teff is cultivated in an extensive area with more complex use of agricultural tools and specialized traditional farming technology than any other cereals cultivated in this area and involves intensive land preparation for each plot before sewing the Teff. Teff also requires a particular way of land preparation, ceremonial rituals from its cultivation to its harvest and threshing processes. Though the people cultivate other cereals for higher production, less labor and technical expertise, they prefer to cultivate Teff mainly for two general reasons: 1) for its high nutritional value and 2) for the higher social recognition and prestige of farming Teff. A farmer with good ability and skill of production of Teff enjoys greater prestige than any other farmer in his village. More interestingly, those farmers are also considered as descendants of the native settlers of the area and the best farmers who could produce other cereals easily.
TRACING PRE-CHRISTIAN RITUALS IN ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY [Abstract ID: 0101-06]
Since its introduction in the 4th century, Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity has preserved practices borrowed from pre-Christian religions and local cults. Evidence that supports this hypothesis can be seen in religious ritual ceremonies, material culture use, animal symbolism and particularly in the landscape and localities where churches were established. Of special interest are the myths associated with the construction of some of the churches: many churches were made in a special geological or natural landscape, in prohibitively inaccessible areas – which, however, were believed to be previously centers of cultic traditions. The main objective of this research is to test a hypothesis which postulates that churches were founded according to the characteristics and nature of religious practices predating Christianity, with associated ritual ceremonies and the material culture use re-purposing more ancient traditions for the newly introduced Christian worship. These themes are examined from both an archaeological point of view and an anthropological perspective. The research is based on data collected from some of the sacred ruined places and churches and from the Sa’si’e’t Tse’da Emba and Ganta Afeshum districts of Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia.