ETHIOPIA: ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVER THREE MEDIEVAL TOWNS

Author : Staff Report

Year : 2007

ETHIOPIA: ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVER THREE MEDIEVAL TOWNS
Staff Report

PARIS, 7 APRIL 2007 – The ruins of three medieval towns were discovered last January in Ethiopia during the Gendebelo/Nora I exploratory mission coordinated by the French Center for Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa, directed by Francois-Xavier Fauvelle, a researcher at France’s prestigious multi-disciplinary National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). These towns are probably the first material vestiges of the Shoa (or Shewa) kingdom, an important Muslim kingdom known from texts to have dominated the region from the 10th to the 16th century. Until now its precise place on the map has never been clear. The kingdom controlled one of the most important trade routes of the time, between the Christianized Ethiopian highlands and the Muslim ports of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Perched up at about 1300 meters, on the escarpment of the Rift Valley in an area now covered in thick brush and scrub, the remains of mosques, residential areas and city walls, and buildings with walls several meters high stud the sites of the medieval towns of Asbari, Masal and Nora. The population of the region is composed of mainly Muslim rural mixed farming communities, who dispute their rights to this area. The areas around these ancient sites show traces of terraced farming, but today they are pastures.

Contributor: Meftuh Shash

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