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Potsherds were recovered in the Gännätä Maryam area from small, shallow ‘shovel tests’ by Brian Clark and from the ground surface in farmers’ fields and on steep slopes, so in eroded soils that effectively cannot be dated through stratigraphy. Those few recovered in the graves were not related to the burial, but were part of the earthen grave fill. Most sherds were small, thick and ‘rolled’, mostly undecorated body sherds but some with useful ‘diagnostic’ features (rim, handle, base, decoration). Only one nearly complete vessel – a lid – has been found so far.

Ethnographic interviews with local potters, and information about the names, features and uses of vessels in the surrounding communities, provide insights into the archaeological finds and their possible uses in the past.

Petrographic analysis of some sherds, performed by Patrick Quinn of UCL, has identified the minerals and rocks mixed into the clay (‘fabric’). Geological maps indicate that the materials can be found in the immediate landscape of Gännätä Maryam, suggesting that the vessels were produced locally.
Some sherds are comparable with more complete vessels recovered elsewhere in Ethiopia, including Aksum and the Lake Ṭana region.

In addition to ceramics, some lithic artefacts, including obsidian blades, and metalworking slag have been found at both Gännätä Maryam and Wašša Mika’el.


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