On the nature of South Arabian influences in Ethiopia during the late first millennium BC: a pre-Aksumite settlement on the margins of the eastern Tigray plateau


  • Iwone Gajda CNRS
  • Steven Matthews Deutsches Archäologisches Institute
  • Jérémie Schiettecatte CNRS
  • Ninon Blond University of Lyon 2
  • Saskia Buechner Deutsches Archäologisches Institute
  • Pawel Wolf Deutsches Archäologisches Institute


Ethiopia, pre-Aksumite period, proto-Aksumite period, pottery traditions, land use


This paper presents the results of survey and excavations carried out in the Wakarida region by the French Archaeological Mission in eastern Tigray, Ethiopia. Here we discuss a series of late first-millennium BC occupation sites. The sites, material culture, and landscape evolution are reviewed in relation to current arguments concerning Sabaean influence on highland cultural development in Ethiopia during the pre-Aksumite period. This contribution underlines the strong cultural continuity of pottery traditions throughout the period until the development of the Aksumite polity at the end of the first millennium BC, highlighting the lack of a ‘proto-Aksumite’ equivalent in eastern Tigray. The absence of any clear traces of South Arabian influence on local cultures in this region, despite its relative proximity to sites such as Meqaber Gaʿewa and Ziban Adi which demonstrate links to the Daʿmat polity, are discussed.


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How to Cite

BENOIST, A., Gajda, I., Matthews, S., Schiettecatte, J., Blond, N., Buechner, S., & Wolf, P. (2020). On the nature of South Arabian influences in Ethiopia during the late first millennium BC: a pre-Aksumite settlement on the margins of the eastern Tigray plateau. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 50(1), 19–36. Retrieved from http://archaeopresspublishing.com/ojs/index.php/PSAS/article/view/308

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