Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Aksum: Environmental Archaeology

  • Federica SulasEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_863


Rising above the Sudanese lowlands to the north and the Red Sea coastal plains to the east, the highlands of northern Ethiopia and Eritrea have long been recognized as a center of plant domestication and host of some of the earliest complex societies of sub-Saharan Africa. The intensification of contacts with southern Arabia in the first millennium BCE favored the development of complex societies and, later, the emergence of the Kingdom of Aksum (BCE 50–CE 800). Aksum is located on a gentle plain at the heart of the Tigray highlands (Fig. 1) which provided excellent ground for the new kingdom to thrive for almost a 1,000 years by engaging in long-distance trade and commerce, developing literacy and coinage. The adoption of Christianity in the mid-fourth century CE furthered Aksum’s importance within and beyond northeast Africa. This historical significance has fostered intensive archaeological research in the region, but the history of its diverse environment has received...
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Further Reading

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  9. Sulas, F., M. Madella & C. French. 2009. State-formation and water resource management in the Horn of Africa: the Aksumite kingdom of Ethiopia. World Archaeology 41(1): 1–15.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology and ArchaeologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa