Top Ten Axumite Artifacts

Top Ten Axumite Artifacts

       Axum is a city in Northern Ethiopia, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Axumite. The Axumite Kingdom evolved from a city-state to a regional power between the second century before the current era and the second century of the current era. At its peak between the third and sixth centuries of the current era, Axum controlled inter-regional and Red Sea trade. Axum is believed to have traded widely, with contacts in Byzantium, Alexandria and southern Europe. Axum began to decline in the 7th century with the spread of Islam, which severed the trade routes that had been Axum’s economic lifeblood. A remnant of the Axum Kingdom persisted in the Blue Nile region until a rebellion finished it off in the 10th century.

  1. Axum Obelisk

           The Obelisk of Axum (today, especially in Axum, also called the Rome Stele) is a 1,700-year-old, 24-meters (78-foot) tall granite stele/obelisk, weighing 160 tonnes. It is decorated with two false doors at the base, and decorations resembling windows on all sides. The “obelisk” ends in a semicircular top part, which used to be enclosed by metal frames. Their function is supposed to be that of “markers” for underground burial chambers. The largest of the grave markers were for royal burial chambers and were decorated with multi-story false windows and false doors, while nobility would have smaller, less decorated ones.
    Links: Top Ten Ethiopian Attractions, Top Ten Obelisks, Top Ten Megalithic Stones, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obelisk_of_Axum,
  2. Cathedral Fresco of Madonna

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  3. Ceramic Vessel

           These are examples of an interesting type of figural spout found on Axumite ceramic vessels. Spouts of this type feature a female head with a distinctive hairstyle or head covering that conforms tightly to the skull until it flares outward at a ninety-degree angle at a point between the cheekbones and the chin. I’m tempted to say vessels of this type were votive goods associated with a goddess cult, which if correct, could date them to a time before the Axumite King Ezana converted to Christianity in the third century.
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  4. Ceramic Vessel

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  5. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 African Artifacts,