Forgotten Ethiopian city gives clues about Islamic civilization

Published 16.06.2017 17:19

Archaeologists have discovered a forgotten city in Ethiopia that is thought to date back as far as the 10th century AD.

The find in the Harlaa region of eastern Ethiopia has revealed artifacts from Egypt, India and China, showing the strong trade links between East Africa and other civilizations.

A 12th-century mosque at the site shows similarities to others found in Tanzania and Somaliland.

Archaeologists have suggested that the mosque proves that there were historic connections between Islamic communities in the African continent, with architectural styles being shared across wide areas.

"This discovery revolutionizes our understanding of trade in an archaeologically neglected part of Ethiopia. What we have found shows this area was the center of trade in that region," said lead archeologist Professor Timothy Insoll from the University of Exeter.

Jewelry and other artifacts from Madagascar, the Maldives, Yemen and China also emerged from the excavations.

The large stone blocks used as construction materials in the area have led local people to believe that the city was constructed by giants.

"We have obviously disproved that, but I'm not sure they fully believe us yet," Professor Insoll commented.

The remains of around 300 people were also found in a historic cemetery, and analysis are being done to determine what their diet was in the hope that this will shed light on their lifestyle and civilization.

Archaeologists are planning further excavations next year.

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