Alice C. Linsley
German archaeologists working in the Ethiopian highlands have identified the remains of settlements from the first millennium B.C. that show cultural and religious connections between Southern Arabia and East African settlements. Excavations and surveys focused on the ancient towns of Yeha and Wuqro indicate that this region in the northern Abyssinian highlands was on the ancient trade routes and connected to ancient Axum.
|Yeha altar at the Almaqah temple|
Since 2008, archaeologists excavating at Yeha and surrounding sites have uncovered buildings, burials and pottery that indicate Ethiopian-Yemen connections. Among the discoveries was a perfectly preserved sacrificial altar with a royal inscription in Old South Arabian (Dedanite) bearing the name Yeha. The discovery by Ethiopians archaeologists of the sacrificial altar was made in Meqaber Ga’ewa, a previously unknown location near the city of Wuqro in the region of Tigray.
According to Kebede Amare, head of the Tigray Cultural Department, this civilization had sophisticated irrigation plans, made use of plows, grew millet, and made iron tools and weapons.
The Almaqah temple was built in the 8th to 6th centuries BC on the ruins of an earlier building. It resembles the early South Arabian temples. The sacrificial altar was dedicated by a king named W'RN. The inscription, dating to the 7th century BC, proves the ancient name of Yeha for the first time and reveals a connection between the ruler-priests of South Arabia and the ancient Upper Nile.
Among the votive artifacts were found incense burners inscribed in Sabaean (Dedanite), the language of Sheba. The inscription stated that the area had been ruled jointly by three kings. They ruled over a population of red and black Nubians as shown on ancient Egyptian monuments. This may be the point of origin of the three-clan confederations that have been identified in Genesis.