AIA Fieldwork Photo Contest 2020

Entry 10513

Submitted by Dil Singh Basanti

Mai Adrasha

Shire, Tigrai, Ethiopia

Category: Excavation

As a child, Selam's mother told her stories she knew of their ancestors here at Mai Adrasha during the time of Noah. Yet people in Tigrai were rarely attentive to these tales – because every place has tales – and they would rather flock to see the triumphant histories captured in the monuments of nearby Axum. The inequality of status between "educated" cities and small villages breeds an inequality of histories. But here Selam carefully looks for patterns of rodent burrows and sideways roots to investigate a possible 3000-year-old dirt floor at the ancient city of Mai Adrasha (~1200 BC to 800 AD). Five years before, this place was stories. Five years later, it is on TV across Tigrai as one of the very oldest urban settlements in Ethiopia, where professors and archaeology students gather to see the ancient remains, and where Selam's mother now graciously explains to them the stratigraphy, the methods, the AMS dates, the artifacts, their significance, and the stories she will still one day find.

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