Axum Stelae Field

Axum stelae field

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The colossal granite obelisks of Axum provide striking opportunities for thought and speculation. Nobody knows for certain how, when, or why these obelisks were erected and what mechanisms were deployed in carving and transporting them. However, tradition points out that the immense power of elephants was used in moving the stones. "The stelae were erected with the aid of earthen ramps and tremendous human effort".

The Northern Stelae Field

The largest and most important stelae field is to the north-east of the town, measures about 750 m from soth-west to noth-east, and lies on the north side of a path going up the valley. The largest and most elaborate stelae lie nearest to the town.

It stands 23m (75 feet) high.

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Stela 6:"The Northern Storeyed Stela"

This monolith, 15.22 m long, originally faced south-east and has fallen backwards towards the north-west so that it lies with its from side uppermost.

There are carving on the front and side of the stela; its back is smooth and undecorated.

The stone and its carvings are extremely well preserved. The only break is near the top; and the top piece still lies adjacent to the rest of the stela.

In cross-section the stelae is a simple rectangle 1.475 by 0.785 m at its foot, tapering uniformly towards the top. The foot, roughtly cut and somewhat wider, represents about one seventh of the total lenth.

In the front face of the head two circular areas are carved out, the upper one 63 cm, the lower 80 cm in diameter, intended for bronze ornamentation. The peg-holes, nine in the lower, ten in the upper circle, are 3.5 by 3.5 cm and about 5cm deep.

Stelea 5:"The stelae by the stream"

The stelae lies in three pieces in the valley, midway between Enda Yesus and Mai Shum. Its exact original position and original orientation are unclear, the pieces lying haphazardly on the slope near the stream. The top lies in the stream itself, the front base-plate lies just above the fragement of the shaft, the rear plate a little higher up. Approximately, the stela would be 15.80 long if reassembled.

Stelea 4:"The stelae in front of Enda Yesus"

This stela is similar to stelae 6, but largert and more ornate. It has a total of six storeys and, apart from the nead, is also carved on the back. It has a wonderfully preserved base-plate, the most ornate of tis kin in Aksum. The stela hs falled backwards towards the north and lies as it fell in several pieces, front uppermost, in front of the wall of Enda Yesus Church, just to the right of the entrance. …The top piece of the shaft is missing. The head was found about 50 m to the south of the rest. The original position where the stela stood can be clearly seen. The foot still rests at an angle in the ground, with the foundations and base-plates around it, displaced only by the fall and leverage of the stela

Stela 3

The height of the steal above the ground, measured from the threshold of the door, is about 21m. The monolith is about 24 m long overall. The base measures 2.65 by 1.18 m in cross-section. The structure and tapering are uniform. The central section of the front face is recessed. Front and sides are carved in relief, with window at the sides, unlike stelae 6, 5 and 4.This stela is standing still and it has nine storeys.

Steal 2:"The second-largest stela"

This monument stood about 50 paces to the south west of stela 3, in line with it. It l as it fell, from north-west to south-east, in five pieces with the back uppermost. The stela is similar to number 3, but has 11 storeys. Its total height was about 24 m, with a cross-section at the bottom of 2.32 by 1.26 m. The foot is 3.90 m long. The stelea is carved in relief on all four sides; the back has a recess to match the front.

This stelea is recently returned to Ethiopa and erected in the stelea farm along with existing ones.It used to be erected in Rome in front of headquarters fo the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization near the site fo the Circus Maximus.

Stelea1: "the great stelea"

This monolith, which once measured over 33m in length, is lying as it fell, forwards, from north-north-west to south-south-west.

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