Petit Futé's opinion on STELLAR FIELD
This area in the north of the city allows to admire the most beautiful specimens of these symbolic monuments. A small part of the field has been updated by archaeologists, but most are still buried in the land! You will see a still intact stelas field which has not revealed its mysteries. These discoveries do not speak much of the past either, with information about this very ancient civilization being rare. It is recognized that these funeral monuments symbolize houses on the ground, with their windows, their door locks framed by these motifs of "monkey heads" typical of the axoumite architecture and found in a very large number of civil and religious buildings after that time. The growing summit (Arabic pagan symbol?) of the buildings certainly showed metal decorations, as demonstrated by visible traces of oxidation.
The archaeological museum. Open from 8 a. m. to 12 p. m. and from 14 p. m. to 18 p. m. every day. The visit of the museum is a good introduction to that of the city's sites. It contains stones with sabéennes and Greek inscriptions, axoumites coins, a beautiful collection of pottery and jewelry updated during excavations. Models (including Your'akha Palace ') and drawings describe the ingenuity and richness of the inhabitants of this mysterious kingdom. A small film on Aksum and the Tigray region is being circulated and will complete the visit. Don't miss the replica of a typical Aksum house, located right next to the museum. Small local handicraft shop.
The guides, warm and available, seem sometimes to have their own interpretation of the city's history, not to take at the foot of the letter. Their help still makes the visit more lively.
The first stele, 33 m, is lying and broken into several pieces. Carved on its four sides, the building could have collapsed in its erection because of the lack of a deep pit to support its 400 tonnes. The popular tradition sees this as the hallmark of the looting of Queen Gudit, who wants to recover the gold decorations that adorn the summit of monuments. For others, this collapse, considered as a divine sign, would have precipitated the conversion of the city to Christianity.
A second stele, 28 m high, was located in a nearby pit, which only remains the location since it was stolen during the Italian occupation in 1937. At the time, the transport of the 200-ton monolith gave rise to an epic company obliging Italians to cut the block into five pieces, one of which was forgotten on the spot, before the stele was reconstituted to be built on a Roman square. The return of this symbol to its country of origin was the subject of a real order paper. The stele is now back and has been recovered at its initial location.
A third stele of what could have been an alignment whose meaning is not established is 24 m. Known as the «stele of Ezena», the monument has nine floors and a degrés with sculptures of vine leaves and small excavations that strangely remind the game of gabeta, still very popular in Africa.
The mausoleum, whose entrance is marked by a colossal granite portico, is open to visit, after several years of excavation and rehabilitation work.
Tomb of brick arches. Dating from the th century and named as a reference to the material that consists of its cradle vault and arches separating the four funeral chambers dug in the rock, it seems to have escaped the looting and delivered real archaeological treasures: pottery, glassware, sculpted ivories, bronze panels…
Tomb of King Bazen. The structure of this tomb carved in the rock and not built the fact dating back to a long period of time to others, probably from the very time of the birth of Christ.
In the walls of the staircase leading to the three main niches, which would have collected the remains of the king, his wife and his children, other smaller excavations are being fabrications. According to legend, they would have sheltered the bodies of several warriors, buried together with their sovereign… A little above this grave, a plot revealed the presence of several other funerary niches, some of which appear to have been partially dug.
Tomb of King Remhai. At the north-west end of the field. It was known as the "tomb of the false door", in reference to the ground that is also found in the stelas. These funeral rooms of the 1974 th or th century, accessible by a staircase, were released in from the tumulus that hid them. Despite the successive looting that suggests that they were harbouring real treasures, there were plant samples that revealed the cultivation of tef and the fake banana, which are still the bases of local food. The curiosities of the main burial house lie in the stone sarcophagus of a single block that it houses and whose resonance suggests that it is hollow, as well as in the unique tile that makes up the ceiling of the building.
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