A new permanent exhibition of Ethiopia’s archaeological history was officially inaugurated at the National Museum in Addis Ababa, by President Sahle-Work Zewde on Friday.
As one of the oldest countries in Africa, the country’s civilisation dates back thousands of years. People flocked to be the first to see some of the extraordinary artifacts on display, many of which have never been seen in public.
‘It was to better present the rich cultural material of antiquity in northern Ethiopia mainly and at the same time. It is also to display so many new beautiful objects from the medieval time which was a bit unknown by the public,’ said Anne-Lise Goujon, Project manager of the French Institute for Ethiopian Studies.
The exhibition was organised by the Ethiopian Heritage Authority in collaboration with the French Embassy in Addis Ababa, as the two countries marked 125 years of diplomatic relations.
‘The collections that are presented here are going from what we call pre-Axumite time, so the first millennium BC, until the 16th century and from the Medieval period,’ said French archaeologist and co-creator of the exhibition, Lucile Denizot.
The new exhibition adds to collections at Ethiopia’s National Museum which are seen by many as some of the most important in sub-Saharan Africa. It also displays art ranging from early 14th-century parchments to paintings by leading modern artists.
A new opportunity
For Ethiopian archaeologist, Solomon Kebede, the archaeological exhibit presents a unique opportunity for the country.
‘I’ve always wished to have such a high standard of the exhibition at home. And this is a very good beginning for us, and I am satisfied that it will be a very good beginning for further research and to develop other sections to better levels,’ he said.
The pride of Ethiopians, the incredible carvings, beautiful sculptures, coins, and other artefacts are a further testament to the country’s rich history.