Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tiya, Mirab Shewa, Ethiopia
Lunch over and back along the same road some 11 days ago for the remaining leg back to Addis.

Stopped first at the UNESCO site at Tiya.

The stelae from the Soddo region, with their enigmatic configuration, are highly representative of an expression of the Ethiopian megalithic period. 

Soddo lies to the south of Addis Ababa, beyond the Aouache river. It is remarkable because of the numerous archaeological sites of the megalithic period, comprising hundreds of sculptured stelae, that have been discovered there. The carved monoliths vary in size from 1 m to 5 m. Their forms fall into several distinct categories: figurative composition; anthropomorphic; hemispherical or conical; simple monoliths. In the northern area are to be found stelae with depictions of swords, associated with enigmatic symbols and schematic human figures.

Among the most important of the roughly 160 archaeological sites discovered so far in the Soddo region is Tiya. Of the 36 stelae at Tiyla, 32 are sculpted with vaguely representational configurations (including the sword designs), which are for the most part difficult to decipher. One depicts the outline of a human figure in low relief.

They are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture the age of which has not yet been precisely determined. However, they have been interpreted as having a funerary significance, as there are tombs scattered around the stelae. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/12

These 700 year old mass graves of male and females who were laid to rest in a foetal position having dies between ages 18 and 50. Nearly all of the stones are engraved with what appears to be stylised swords (perhaps they were soldiers) plain circles (female?) and what looks like a pair of podgy leaves rising on a stem from a rectangular base – quite possibly representing the enset or false banana, a plantain grown in southern Ethiopia. Some stones are carved with what looks like a Greek E with no meaning for this just yet.

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