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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 257–274 | Cite as

The First Millennium bc in the Highlands of Northern Ethiopia and South–Central Eritrea: A Reassessment of Cultural and Political Development

  • David W. PhillipsonEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

An overview is offered of the development of research—both archaeological and epigraphic—on the inhabitants of the northern Horn during the first millennium bc. Initially, reconstructions of this period placed considerable emphasis on links with southern Arabia and tended to group those into a single cultural category that was designated ‘Pre-Aksumite’. It is now argued that long-distance contacts were much less pervasive, being largely restricted to the élite, and that other aspects of life—including much material culture and subsistence economy—displayed strong local continuity from earlier times. Similarly, it is argued that interpretation of the epigraphic evidence as indicating a single ‘Pre-Aksumite’ state called D'MT is unjustified.

Keywords

Pre-Aksumite Archaeology Ethiopia Eritrea 

Résumé

On fait une revue du développement de la recherche archéologique et epigraphique sur les habitants des régions septentrionales de la Corne de l’Afrique pendant le premier millénaire avant notre ère. Autrefois, les interprétations tendaient à mettre en exergue les relations avec l’Arabie du sud, et considérer toutes ces populations comme appartenant à un seul groupe culturel ‘pré-aksoumite’. On préfère aujourd’hui soutenir que les contacts de longue distance étaient pour la plupart limités aux élites, et que les autres dimensions de la vie sociale – les outils lithiques, la culture matérielle, et les moyens de subsistance notamment – présentent des continuités appréciables avec les périodes antérieures. On considère de même qu’ il n’y a pas de raison pour interpréter les textes épigraphiques comme indicatifs d’un seul état ‘pré-aksoumite’ nommé D'MT.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SkiptonEngland

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