Ulteriori evidenze di contatti tra Arabia ed Etiopia in epoca protostorica. Considerazioni su un sito gibutino di recente pubblicazione
Manzo, Andrea (2000) Ulteriori evidenze di contatti tra Arabia ed Etiopia in epoca protostorica. Considerazioni su un sito gibutino di recente pubblicazione. Annali dell’Università degli studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”. Rivista del Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici e del Dipartimento di Studi e Ricerche su Africa e Paesi Arabi, 98 (58/3-4). pp. 519-527. ISSN 0393-3180
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The excavations of the site of Asa Koma, thirty kilometres from lake Abbe (Djibouti), were published recently. The site has been dated to the late third/mid-second millennium BC. The pottery discovered is similar to some of the ceramics from Sihi and Subr, on the Saudi and Yemeni coast, respectively. Similarities between the ceramics from the Eritrean and South Arabian coastal regions have been already observed, and the existence of a cultural horizon dating to the late third-early first millennium BC on both sides of the Southern Red Sea has been recognized. Asa Koma can be considered its southernmost African site discovered so far. The role played by the Djibouti coast in these early contacts with South Arabia is also confirmed by the tumuli or truncated-conical stone structures with low walls starting from the base recorded at Herakalu and Ras Syan, resembling to some Arabian structures dating from the third to the first millennium BC.
The ceramic evidence from Asa Koma and the stone structures of Herakalu and Ras Syan confirm what had already been suggested by some megalithic structures of the Harar region and the rock art in Ethio-Arabian style discovered in the Djibouti, Harar, and Sidamo regions: the Djibouti coast and its hinterland along the Rift valley were a gateway between Ethiopia and Arabia since at least the third millennium BC. Most likely, the contacts and relationships between them originated from the trade in raw materials like obsidian, sea shells, and, later on, aromatic and other perishable materials. The preliminary data examined in this note represent the first contribution of archaeology to the study of this ancient gateway between Ethiopia and Arabia. They can contribute as well to the debate on the origins of Semitic languages of Central and Southern Ethiopia.
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