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Archaeological Evidence has Shed Light on the Origins of Christianity in Ethiopia

While ancient civilizations of the Horn of Africa have remained on the edges of research compared to other similar powers, the region still “teems with archaeological sites,” writes Jason Urbanus in Archaeology. One of the oldest churches in sub-Saharan Africa was inhabited for some 1,400 years before vanishing around 650 AD. It was found by researchers in Beta Samati, once part of the Kingdom of Aksum ― an ancient kingdom that once existed in present-day Eritrea and Ethiopia. The team uncovered sections of the building that had been excavated a century and a half earlier and carried out their own in-depth investigation that revealed the structure’s full extent. They found the ruins of a huge complex, measuring 100 feet long by 65 feet wide, that had been built upon a 10-foot-high podium. It contained a large central hall divided into three naves with a semi-circular apse at one end. This plan is consistent with the typical design of early Christian basilicas.