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Axum (Ethiopia)


Obelisk at Axum, Ethiopia

Obelisk at Axum, Ethiopia

Niall Crotty

Axum (also spelled Aksum) was the name of a kingdom and capital city in what is now Ethiopia of the 1st through 6th century AD. The rulers of Aksum controlled trade through its ports on the Red Sea between Rome and India and all kinds of places in between.

Archaeological excavations at Axum were first undertaken by Littman in 1906; and the British Institute in Eastern Africa excavated at Axum beginning in the 1970s, part of which excavation is described by one of the directors, Stuart Munro-Hay in the photo feature called The Royal Tombs of Axum.

Be sure to test your knowledge of the ancient town of Aksum with the Aksum Trivia Quiz.


See the Kingdom of Aksum for a more information about Axum and its outliers. Also, see the photo essay called The Royal Tombs of Aksum, written by the late excavator at Aksum, archaeologist Stuart Munro-Hay.

Phillipson, David W. 2005. African Archaeology, 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Phillipson, Laurel 2009 ]Lithic Artefacts as a Source of Cultural, Social and Economic Information: the evidence from Aksum, Ethiopia. African Archaeological Review 26:45–58.

Alternate Spellings: Aksum

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