Italy extends funding for four archaeological missions in Ethiopia


The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has renewed the annual financial contribution for four archaeological missions in Ethiopia organized and led by Italian universities.
The University of Naples “L’Orientale” is the longest archaeological mission carried out by an Italian institution in Ethiopia, specifically in the area of Axum. The mission, led by Prof. Andrea Manzo, has been operating in Tigray since 1993 in cooperation with the International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (ISMEO) and the cultural bureaus in Mekelle and Axum.
This archaeological mission has largely contributed to the development of in-depth studies on the Aksumite kingdom. The University of Rome “La Sapienza” is the leader of three important archeological missions in Ethiopia. Since 1999 Prof. Margherita Mussi has researched the sites of Balchit and Melka Kunture, in the Upper Hawash Valley, to analyze the adaption of the Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens’ species to the local environment.
Prof. Mussi, who is also the Director of the archeological site, has closely cooperated with local Authorities to promote the inclusion of Melka Kunture and Balchit in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The University of Rome “La Sapienza” has also carried on two archeological campaigns in 2017 and 2018 led by Prof. Enza Spinapolice in Gotera and Yabelo bringing to light the exceptional relevance of this area from an archeological standpoint, specifically for the study of the transition from the nomadic life to the pastoralist settlements.
For the first time, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has decided to finance the archeological campaign conducted by Prof. Marina Gallinaro in Borana in order to study the rock art and the pastoral life that developed in this area. This project, which aims at researching and protecting rock art’s sites, has been developed in close cooperation with the Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau.
These archeological campaigns are realized in coordination with the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), stressing the strong and long-lasting cultural ties between Ethiopia and Italy.