Looking Southward• Moving beyond Egypt and Nubia, we come to what is today Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Cameroon.• It is here that we encounter several important cities in the region of Ethiopia/Eritrea, the Nok Culture, and the origin of the Bantu Expansion.
Ethiopia: Prehistory• Discovery of Lucy took place in Ethiopia’s Afar region• East Africa, and more specifically the general area of Ethiopia, is widely considered the site of the emergence of early Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic.• In 2004 fossils found near the Omo river at Kibbish by Richard Leakey in 1967 were redated to 195,000 years old, the oldest date anywhere in the world for modern Lucy skeleton reconstruction Homo Sapiens
Punt• The earliest records of Ethiopia appear in Ancient Egypt, during the Old Kingdom period.• Egyptian traders from about 3000 BC refer to lands south of Nubia or Kush as Punt and Yam.• The Ancient Egyptians were in possession of myrrh (found in Punt) as early as the First or Second Dynasties, which suggests trade between the two countries was extant from Ancient Egypts beginnings• Most scholars today believe Punt was located south-east of Egypt (roughly northern Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and the Red Sea coast of Sudan).• Some inscriptions locate Punt in the Arabian Peninsula. possible location of Punt• It is possible that the territory covered both the Horn of Africa and Southern Arabia
Egyptians Travel to Punt• The earliest recorded Egyptian expedition to Punt was organized by Pharaoh Sahure of the Fifth Dynasty (25th century BC) although gold from Punt is recorded as having been in Egypt in the time of king Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt.• Subsequently, there were more expeditions to Punt in the Sixth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Eighteenth dynasties of Egypt. In the Twelfth dynasty, trade with Punt was celebrated in popular literature in the "Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor”.• In the reign of Mentuhotep III (around 1950 BC), an officer named Hannu organized one or more voyages to Punt, but it is uncertain whether he personally traveled on these expeditions. Trading missions of the 12th dynasty pharaohs Senusret I and Amenemhat II had also successfully navigated their way to and from the mysterious land of Punt.
Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor• A sailor announces his return from a voyage at sea. He is returning from an apparently failed expedition and is anxious about how the king will receive him. An attendant reassures him, advising him on how to behave before the king. To encourage his master, he tells a tale of a previous voyage of his in which he overcame disaster, including meeting with a god and the king.• The sailor then describes how his ship, manned by 120 (some translations have 150) sailors, had sunk in a storm and how he alone had survived and was washed up on an island. There he finds shelter and food (he says "there was nothing that was not there"). While making a burnt offering to the gods, he hears thunder and feels the earth shake and sees a giant serpent approach him. The serpent asks him who had brought him to the island. The sailor repeats his story, saying that he was on a mission for the king.• The serpent tells him not to fear and that god has let him live and brought him to the island, and that after four months on the island he will be rescued by sailors he knows and will return home. The serpent then relates a tragedy that had happened to him, saying that he had been on the island with 74 of his kin plus a daughter, and that a star fell and "they went up in flames through it”. The serpent advises the sailor to be brave and to control his heart, and if he does so, he will return to his family.• The sailor now promises the serpent that he will tell the king of the serpents power and will send the serpent many valuable gifts, including myrhh and other incense. Laughing at him, the serpent says that the sailor is not rich, but that he (the serpent) is Lord of Punt and that the island is rich in incense, and that when the sailor leaves he will not see the island again as it will become water. The ship arrives and the serpent gives him many precious gifts including spices, incense, elephants tusks, greyhounds and baboons.• The sailor returns home and gives the king the gifts he took from the island
Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor: Questions• What type of story is this?• What is the island the sailor is shipwrecked on like?• What is the role of the serpent?• Does this story remind you of any myths you know from other cultures?
Hatshepsut’s Trip to Punt• In the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, Hatshepsut built a Red Sea fleet to facilitate trade between the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and points south as far as Punt to bring mortuary goods to Karnak in exchange for Nubian gold.• Hatshepsut personally made the most famous ancient Egyptian expedition that sailed to Punt.• The voyage was made in five ships, each measuring 70 feet long, and with several sails. These accommodated 210 men, including sailors and 30 rowers, and was led by the Nubian general "Nehsi". They departed at Quseir on the Red Sea for what was primarily a trading mission, seeking frankincense and myrrh, and fragrant unguents used for cosmetics and in religious ceremonies. However, they also brought back exotic animals and plants, ivory, silver and gold.
The Temple at Deir el-Barhi• A report of this voyage is left behind as temple reliefs in Deir el-Bahri, Egypt. The reliefs shows the departure of the expedition, its arrival at the mysterious land, the landing of the ships with the gifts by the Puntine leader to Hatshepsut, and the preparations for the return voyage.• Donkeys were depicted as the method of transporting goods, and white dogs guarding the people’s houses. Birds, monkeys, leopards, giraffes, and hippopotamus are also seen to live in Punt. The Nubian Nehsi is then shown in front of his tent with a banquet offered to his guests, and observing the gifts presented Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahri
Reliefs• Disassembled ships were hauled over the desert to the Red Sea coast, where the ships were re- assembled and sent south. Upon returning, the ships were again taken apart and hauled back overland to the Nile Valley. ship
Were there Hebrews in ancient Ethiopia?• The Ethiopian history described in the KebraNagast, or "Book of the Glory of Kings,” (13th-14th century AD) relates that Ethiopians are descendants of Israelite tribes who came to Ethiopia with Menelik I, alleged to be the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (see 1 Kings 10:1-13 and 2 Chronicles 9:1-12).• The legend relates that Menelik, as an adult, returned to his father in Jerusalem, and then resettled in Ethiopia, and that he took with him the Ark of the Covenant.• In the Bible there is no mention that the Queen of Sheba either married or had any sexual relations with King Solomon (although some identify her with the "black and beautiful" in Song 1:5); rather, the narrative records that she was impressed with his wealth and wisdom, and they exchanged royal gifts, and then she returned to rule her people in Kush. However, the "royal gifts" are interpreted by some as sexual contact.• The loss of the Ark is also not mentioned in the Bible. In fact, King Hezekiah later makes reference to the Ark in 2 Kings 19:15.
Circumstantial Evidence• Presence of Star of David in some reliefs• Architectural similarities of some Ethiopian temples to temples in Israel• Presence of a Semitic language: inscriptions in the Sabaean language (given as evidence for Queen of Sheba in Ethiopia [Sabaean was the language of ancient Yemen, one possible homeland of the Queen of Sheba])• The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea refers to the plundering of the Temple of Solomon (used as evidence for Ethiopia as location of Ark of the Covenant)
Ark of the Covenant (Courtesy of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark)
DNA Studies• A 1999 study examined the DNA of 38 unrelated Jewish males living in Israel and 104 Ethiopians living in regions located north of Addis Ababa and concluded that the distinctiveness of the Y- chromosome distribution of the Ethiopian Jews from conventional Jewish populations and their relatively greater similarity in genetic profile to non-Jewish Ethiopians are consistent with the view that the Beta Israel people descended from ancient inhabitants of Ethiopia and not the Levant.• A 2000 study of Y-chromosome haplotypes of Jewish and non- Jewish groups suggested that “paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population," with the exception of the Ethiopian Jews, who were "affiliated more closely with non-Jewish Ethiopians and other East Africans.”• A 2004 study reached similar conclusions, that the Ethiopian Jews were likely descended from local Ethiopian populations.
Daamat (D’mt)• First real state in Ethiopia (c. 700-300 BC)• Arose from contact between people of the Tigray plateau in Ethiopia and Arabia in early 1st millennium BC.• Plow and irrigation may have been introduced to the area
Yeha• Central site of Daamat state• South Arabian pottery has been found there, suggesting commercial relations with Saba• Inscriptions in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea are in the South Arabian script Tigray plateau near Yeha
Religion• The cult of the sun and moon gods was introduced from South Arabia Temple at Yeha
Sun and MoonRelief showing sun andcrescent moonWhat does the iconographyremind you of?
Conquest or adoption?• One interpretation of the similarities between South Arabia and Daamat is that Arabians migrated to Ethiopia and conquered the local people• A more likely interpretation is that local chiefs in Daamat adopted the South Arabian model of a state, since most of the material culture has more in common with African traditions
End of Daamat• There are no inscriptions from Daamat after the 3rd century BC.• A palace remained at Yeha, occupied until the 2nd century BC.• Nearby, the kingdom of Aksum began to take shape and, by the 2nd-3rd century AD, controlled the Tigrean plateau.
Nok Culture• The Nok culture appeared in Nigeria c. 1000 B.C. and vanished c. 500 AD.• Its social system is thought to have been highly advanced.• The Nok culture was considered to be the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life-sized Terracotta• Iron use, in smelting and forging for tools, appears in Nok culture in Africa at least by 550 BC
Nok• The Nok culture was discovered in 1928 on the Jos Plateau during tin mining.• Lt-Colonel John Dent-Young, an Englishman, was leading mining operations in the Nigerian village of Nok.• During these operations, one of the miners found a small terracotta of a monkey head. Other finds included a terracotta human head and a foot. The Jos Plateau
Terracotta Sculptures• The terracotta is preserved mostly in the form of scattered fragments. That is why Nok art is well known today only for the heads, both male and female, whose hairstyles are particularly detailed and refined.• The statues are in fragments because the discoveries are usually made from alluvial mud, in terrain made by the erosion of water. Nok terracotta sculpture, Louvre, Paris
Sculptures: function and technique• Little is known of the original function of the pieces, but theories include ancestor portrayal, grave markers, and charms to prevent crop failure, infertility, and illness. Also, based on the dome- shaped bases found on several figures, they could have been used as finials for the roofs of ancient structures.• Margaret Young-Sanchez, Associate Curator of Art of the Americas, Africa, and Oceania in The Cleveland Museum of Art, explains that most Nok ceramics were shaped by hand from coarse- grained clay and subtractively sculpted in a manner that suggests an influence from wood carving.• After some drying, the sculptures were covered with slip and burnished to produce a smooth, glossy surface. The figures are hollow, with several openings to facilitate thorough drying and firing. female statue The firing process most likely resembled that used today in Nigeria, in which the pieces are covered with grass, twigs, and leaves and burned for several hours.
Evidence for Horsemanship• Figures on horseback indicate that the Nok Culture had tamed horses for riding Nok rider and horse
Additional Finds• In 1943, near the village of Nok, a new series of clay figurines were discovered by accident while mining tin.• A worker had found a head and had taken it back to his home for use as a scarecrow, a role that it filled (successfully) for a year in a yam field.• It then drew the attention of the director of the mine who bought it. He brought it to the city of Jos and showed it to the trainee civil administrator, Bernard Fagg, an archaeologist who immediately understood its importance.• He asked all of the miners to inform him of all of their discoveries and was able to amass more than 150 pieces. Afterwards, Bernard and Angela Fagg ordered systematic excavations that revealed many more profitable lucky finds dispersed over a vast area, much larger than the original site. Excavation of a Nok terracotta sculpture
The Bantu Expansion• The Bantu expansion (or Bantu migration) was a series of migrations of speakers of the original proto-Bantu language group that took place roughly from 2000 BC to 500 AD.• The primary evidence for this great expansion has been linguistic: the languages spoken in sub-Equatorial Africa are remarkably similar to each other, to the degree that it is unlikely that they diverged from one another more than three thousand years ago.• Attempts to trace the exact route of the expansion, to correlate it with archaeological evidence, and more recently, with genetic evidence, have not been conclusive, thus some question whether extensive migration or some other process caused the linguistic and cultural changes that have been observed possible route for Bantu migration
What we observe: languages• The term Bantu, which means "people” in many of the languages in the Bantu language group, was first used by linguist Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (1827–1875).• A common characteristic of Bantu languages is that they use words such as muntu or mutu for "person", and the plural prefix for human nouns starting with mu- in most languages is ba-, thus giving bantu for "people.”• The Bantu languages are a sub- branch of the Niger-Congo languages (group B in the map on this slide)
Competing Interpretations• One can see the spread of Bantu languages as evidence for a massive migration – Bantu languages would have originated in what is now Cameroon in West Africa. An estimated 2500–3000 years ago, speakers of the proto-Bantu language would have migrated eastward and southward, carrying agriculture with them.• Alternately, the wave model says that languages can evolve in a stationary population as speakers at the edges of a language’s territory develop their own dialects. – A good example is the differentiation of the Romance languages from Latin after the end of the Roman Empire.
What we observe: pottery and iron• There is evidence of similar pottery technology in eastern, southern and western Africa. Iron Age farmers were skilled pot makers and decorated their pots with grooves and patterns. Related groups of peoples used similar styles of decoration.• The Bantu may have learned how to use iron from the Egyptians, who may have learned it from the Mesopotamians. Most historians don’t think that the Bantu discovered the ability to smelt iron on their own, because there is no evidence of the bronze work before iron work. Historians generally believe that people learn to work bronze, then iron; therefore, the Bantu most likely borrowed iron technology from someplace else.• There is little to no evidence of iron working in east and southern Africa before the arrival of the Bantu.• Do similar pottery styles and the advent of iron technology necessarily indicate migration? Iron Age finds (dark green) in East and Southern Africa Bantu pots and iron tools
What we observe: agriculture• With the drying of the Sahara, Bantu peoples may have migrated southward and eastward to find more suitable locations for agriculture and may have conquered indigenous hunter- gatherer peoples in the process.• We observe hunter-gatherer economies being replaced by agriculture in much of eastern and southern Africa.
Other possible interpretations• Agriculture may have developed independently in Africa, but many scholars believe that the spread of agriculture and iron throughout Africa linked that continent to the major centers of civilization in the Near East and Mediterranean world.• The drying up of the Sahara had pushed many peoples to the south into sub-Saharan Africa. They settled at first in scattered hunting-and-gathering bands, although in some places near lakes and rivers people who fished, with a more secure food supply, lived in larger population concentrations.• Agriculture seems to have reached these people from the Near East, since the first domesticated crops were millets and sorghums whose origins are not African but West Asian. The route of agricultural distribution may have gone through Egypt or Ethiopia, which long had contacts across the Red Sea with the Arabian peninsula
Did the Bantu Expansion happen?• "The question concerning whether or not the Bantu migration actually occurred will await further research. Its very easy to assume that we know so much. Actually we know so little because very little research has been done. So far there is a huge area in DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda where no field work has been done and these are areas that the Bantu peoples would have passed through."• Dr. ChapirukhaKusimba, Field Museum, Chicago.