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Slavery in AfricaArchaeology and Memory$
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Paul Lane and Kevin C. MacDonald

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264782

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264782.001.0001

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The Invisible Archaeology of Slavery in the Horn of Africa?

The Invisible Archaeology of Slavery in the Horn of Africa?

Chapter:
(p.225) 11 The Invisible Archaeology of Slavery in the Horn of Africa?
Source:
Slavery in Africa
Author(s):

Niall Finneran

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264782.003.0011

Any archaeological study of slavery in the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia) must take two factors into account: first, the paucity of archaeological evidence for this system, which is historically attested as being of immense economic importance in the Aksumite and post-Aksumite period; and second, that the ‘social memory’of slavery within the modern Ethiopian psyche has fuelled an ethnohistorical — potentially racist — dichotomy between the ‘Semitic’ highlands and the ‘Cushitic’ lowlands. This dichotomy also broadly mirrors a religious Christian/Muslim separation. This chapter argues that although apparently archaeologically invisible, the long history of slavery within this region of Africa has left a profound and legible cultural imprint upon its peoples and landscapes.

Keywords:   archaeological study, slavery, slave systems, Aksumite period, social memory, Semitic highlands, Cushitic lowlands, Ethiopian psyche

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