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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Aksum: goldfield or vineyards?
Author:Sutton, J.E.G.ISNI
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills., maps
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
Northeast Africa
Axum polity
History, Archaeology
Aksum (Ethiopia)--History
Archaeological sites
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00672700809480457
Abstract:Drawing attention to some rock-cut archaeological features, situated between 3 and 7 km north and north-west of Aksum town, Laurel Phillipson (Azania vol. 41, 2006) made a forceful case for gold production being an important factor behind the wealth and regional power of Aksum (in present-day Ethiopia) in the early and middle part of the first millennium AD. The present author poses the question of whether these features can reasonably be attributed to a former gold-working industry. It concerns two types of feature: one consists of rectangular and slightly hollowed stone platforms or trays called 'mistah werki' ('a place where gold is washed or spread out'); the other type comprises rectangular tanks, carved into the tops of massive rectangular boulders of syenite, and presumed to be fruit or wine presses. The present author suggests - as a tentative conclusion - that, on balance, the 'mistah werki' more likely belonged within the social-cum-religious life of the place than in its agricultural or industrial sector, and that the tank sets were constructed for viticulture and storage of wine. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]