The Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite transition (PA-A transition) is a critically important period in the culture history of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (ca. 400 BC – 1st century AD). Previous hypotheses derived from archaeological surveys, that the settlement of large sites in Eastern Tigrai was continuous during the PA-A transition, are tested in this study. A main objective of this dissertation is to develop the first systematic ceramic chronology of the PA-A transition and the Aksumite period in Eastern Tigrai, based on excavation and ceramic analysis completed at the site of Ona Adi. The work involved the definition of main features of the Agame Ceramic Tradition. This research, in addition to completed survey data, highlights the distant political and economic relationship between the putative centres of Aksum/Yeha and the outlying region of Eastern Tigrai during the PA-A transition and the Aksumite period. It also provides a glimpse into the social dynamics of the PA-A transition at Ona Adi and the political role of Eastern Tigrai during the PA-A transition and the Aksumite period in the Horn of Africa. The work also explores the local cultural development and the impacts of cultural contacts between Eastern Tigrai and surrounding areas during the PA-A transition and Aksumite period. The results represent important baseline data to facilitate the development of future archaeological investigations in the region.
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Thesis advisor: D'Andrea, Catherine
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