Recent Research on Megalithic Stele sites of the Gedeo Zone, Southern Ethiopia


This presentation discusses a new research effort to identify, document, date and better understand the numerous megalithic stele sites of the Gedeo Zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Regional State (SNNPRS) of southern Ethiopia. The Gedeo Zone is home to numerous stele, features that occur as isolates, in small groups, and as localities with numerous stele. Stele range from 1 meter to over 5 meters in length, and though some remain standing, most have collapsed. Stele are sometimes undecorated shaped stone, but most are carved and have been classified as phallic and/or anthropomorphic. Previous research includes Joussaume’s excavations at Tuto Fela, a cemetery, and several documentation efforts. In 2015, we initiated testing at Chelba Tutiti, which includes the largest concentration of stele documented in the region. We discuss the results of test excavations at the base of stele at Chelba Tutiti, the site’s chronological placement, and our efforts to source the stone used to make stele. We contextualize our findings in light of what we know of stele sites in the region, efforts to document and protect these sites, and we outline plans for continued work in the coming years.

Cite this Record

Recent Research on Megalithic Stele sites of the Gedeo Zone, Southern Ethiopia. Andrew Duff, Ashenafi Zena, Addisalem Melesse, John Wolff. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405217)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;