Home | News    Tuesday 26 April 2005

Vast necropolis discovered under Ethiopia’s Axum obelisk site

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

ADDIS ABABA, April 26 (AFP) — A vast pre-Christian royal necropolis has been discovered under a 42-year-old parking lot near where Ethiopia’s famed Axum obelisk once stood, UN researchers said Tuesday.

"Underground chambers and arcades have been found in the vicinity of the original location of the obelisk," the UN Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) said in a statement.

It said a team of experts using advanced, non-intrusive geo-radar and electrotomographic equipment found "several vast funerary chambers under the sites parking ground which was built in 1963."

"The site is a royal necropolis used by several dynasties before the Christian era," UNESCO said, adding that the network stretches far beyond the perimeter of the present archaeological site.

The team was sent to Axum, a protected UN World Heritage Site in northern Ethiopia, last week to survey the area in preparation for the return from Italy of the massive obelisk, the third and final piece of which arrived on Monday.

The obelisk, a 160-tonne, 24-meter (78-foot), third-century BC granite funeral stele, was taken by fascist troops in 1937 as a trophy of conquest on the orders of then Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

It is to be re-erected on its orginal site by September or October and the discovery of the necropolis is expected to boost already high archaelogical interest in the Axum area, UNESCO said.

"It is likely that some of the tombs identified through underground imaging are intact," UNESCO chief Koichiro Matsuura said, calling for additional studies to be done and for the network to eventually be opened to the public.

"The opening of these new tombs to the public would represent, moreover, an additional asset for the site, which, by boosting cultural tourism, would contribute to the economic development of the country," he said.

Researchers have uncovered a number of tombs in Axum since the 1970s but some had been pillaged and only one such grave — the so-called "Tomb of the False Door" is now open to visitors, according to UNESCO.

Axum, which dates to 100 BC and was added to the UN’s World Heritage List in 1980, was the capital of the Axumite kingdom that flourished as a major trading center in from the fifth century BC to the 10th century AD.

At its height, the kingdom, ruled by kings who traced their lineage back to the time of David, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, extended across areas of what are today Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

It adopted Christianity around 325 AD but gradually lost influence with the spread of Islam through the region and the last king was overthrown in the 12th century

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


s
Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


A new approach to peace 2018-04-23 06:16:35 By Miroslav Laják When the United Nations was created, its founders envisioned a different kind of world. A world in which disputes were resolved in meeting rooms and not battlefields. A world (...)

Bring Sudanese troops home now 2018-04-21 15:25:57 By Salah Shuaib The Sudanese troops fighting hard now in Yemen, who were sent there by order of al-Bashir, should return home. The process of implementing this task is much challenging. But, we (...)

Dissolution and formation of the Cabinet - 2013 2018-04-20 08:00:00 Amb Telar Deng The events that led to the 2013 dissolution of cabinet can be traced back to the deep mistrust that fermented back in 1991 when leaders failed to close ranks. After the 1991 (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)

Abyei celebrates Mine Awareness Day 2018-04-05 08:52:03 4 April 2018 | Abyei - The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and (...)

Appeal for forgiveness and pardon of John Agou Wuoi 2018-03-07 08:28:08 H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and Commander-in-Chief, of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), 5th February, 2018. Through: Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.