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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The Sabean man's burden': questioning the dominant historical paradigm with new archaeological findings at Keskese Valley
Author:Habtemichael, DanielISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eritrean Studies (Asmara)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Eritrea
Northeast Africa
History and Exploration
Anthropology and Archaeology
History, Archaeology
Abstract:Eritrean history has been dominated for long by several fallacious theories and paradigms, most of which are meant to show that Eritrean civilization has been shaped by Sabean influence. According to this paradigm, some time during the first millennium BC, a group of Sabeans crossed from Yemen to Africa and made their way to northern Ethiopia, bringing with them civilization, script and the knowledge of agriculture. The present author examines recent archaeological research conducted in Ethiopia and Eritrea that contradicts the dominant historical paradigms. Excavations of the sites in the Greater Asmara region in 1995 and the Sembel and Sembel II sites in 1998/1999, as well as other sites in the Greater Asmara, demonstrate the rise of indigenous complex societies in 800-400 BC in Eritrea. The dates of findings on these sites overlap the time of alleged Sabean immigration. The 2001 archaeological survey of Keskese Valley - which is discussed in detail in this paper - reveals no trace in the material culture that indicates 'Sabean influence', except the Sabean inscriptions. These, however, could be symbolic statements of the affiliation of the long-distance trade network of this region. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]