Archaeology of the Civilisation of Aksum, Ethiopia

I am an archaeologist and received my doctoral degree from Toulouse University, Laboratoire TRACES, in December 2015. My dissertation entitled “Aksum (Ethiopia): An Inquiry into the State of Documentation and Preservation of the Archaeological and Heritage Sites and Monuments” under the supervision of Pr. François-Xavier Fauvelle (Collège de France), dealt with the status of heritage management in Aksum. Aksum was registered as World Heritage Site in 1980. Despite its universal heritage value, the site was given little attention to its preservation and protection. Different institutions such as the municipality, road construction authority, water supply office, culture and tourism office, and telecommunication services, acted independently. This lack of communication among the different stakeholders in the town put the World Heritage Site at risk: This mismanagement damaged much of the archaeological and heritage sites. The study revealed that such damages have changed the ancient topography of the site, erased ancient cultural sites, and destroyed buried archaeological sites.

After I completed my doctoral degree, I went back to Aksum and led a team of archaeologists from Aksum University engaged on rescuing sites damaged as a consequence of road construction. This was due to lack of communication between the road construction authority, the municipality and the culture and tourism office. This was what my thesis revealed and recommended. With the need of the town for settlement and infrastructure expansion, as well as the growth of tourism industry, the status of this world heritage site is under pressure. I was fully engaged on training more professionals in the field of archaeology and heritage management, public education in order to create awareness to the general public and government officials about the past, present and future of Aksum, and the significance of communication among the different stakeholders acting in the town. As a field archaeologist, I am more concerned about the need for preventive archaeology and heritage management in Tigray region, northern Ethiopia, as the region is full of ancient archaeological sites. I have also led a team of archaeologists from Mekelle University working on site preventive measures and archaeological research in Wukro, Tigray. I am an assistant professor of archaeology at Mekelle University. 

I have had collaboratively worked with different French archaeological research projects conducting their research in Tigray. Currently, I am a post-doctoral fellow at the College de France, Paris, since 22 November 2021.

Hiluf Berhe Woldeyohannes est accueilli au Collège de France grâce au programme PAUSE. Début de l’accueil : 1er octobre 2021.