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Routes of Interaction: Interregional Contacts between the Northern Horn of Africa and the Nile Region


Institute of Geographical Sciences
Physical Geography

Principal Investigator:

Partner Institutions:

Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung
Ägyptisches Museum der Universität Leipzig

Funding Scheme:

DFG – Priority Programme (Schwerpunktprogramm)
Subproject of SPP 2143: Entangled Africa: Intra-African connections between Rainforest and Mediterranean (ca. 6000 to 500 BP)

Research Team:
Contact Person:
Dr. Jacob Hardt - Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schütt


The aim of the project is to investigate various forms of mobility and routes of interaction between the highland cultures of the northern Horn of Africa and the cultures of the middle Nile River, the north-eastern Sudanese Gash Delta, as well as parts of Egypt. The chronological framework extends from the 2nd to the early 1st millennium BC.
One focal point of the project is the reconstruction of settlement patterns and communication routes in the Ethiopian highlands as well as in adjoining areas, extending as far as the Red Sea (Eritrea). The question as to why settlements were founded at a particular location cannot be answered by means of archaeological methods alone, but will be researched integrating physical geography and landscape archaeology. Therefore, an evaluation of the different lines of inquiry will proceed from comparative archaeological, historical and geographical perspectives.
During the first phase of the project, field works are carried out around the Ethio-Sabaean center of Yeha (Tigray province).

Looking at the Adwa Mountains (trachyte and phonolite plugs) from an eastern direction. Yeha is located within the Adwa Mountains.

Further reading:
Subpage of the Yeha project at Deutsches Archäologisches Institut: https://www.dainst.org/en/projekt/-/project-display/92320

Newspaper article about the Priority Programme (05.03.2019, in German):