The Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite Transition in EasternTigrai: Ceramic Evidence from Ona Adi

Author(s): Habtamu Mekonnen

Year: 2017


The pre-Aksumite to Aksumite transition (PA-A transition) is critically important for the culture history of the Horn of Africa. This period in Western Tigrai (400/300–150 BCE) represents a cultural break between the Sabaean-influenced pre-Aksumite period (≥800–400/300 BCE) and the predominantly indigenous kingdom of Aksum. Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite polities in Western Tigrai were not directly related and marked by significant sociopolitical change. The emerging picture of the PA-A transition in Eastern Tigrai differs from that observed in the Aksum region, based on continuity in site occupation and minimal Sabaean influence. Although Sabaeans were present in Eastern Tigrai, their socioeconomic impacts may have been minimal or indirect. Moreover, recent surveys have found that a heterarchical political system was in place during the Aksumite period. Analysis of Ona Adi ceramics are revealing patterns of continuity and gradual change in the distribution of decorations including incisions, black topped, notches on the lip and grooved decorations. The PA-A transition also witnessed the appearance of new styles such as punctuated and corrugated vessels. Additional work is needed beyond Aksum-Yeha to explore the regional implications of the PA-A transition.

Cite this Record

The Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite Transition in EasternTigrai: Ceramic Evidence from Ona Adi. Habtamu Mekonnen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430979)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14958