Laboring away in the rugged landscape of Ethiopia’s northern uplands, a specialist archaeological crew are about to find something significant. Focusing their efforts in an area about 30 miles from the capital of the former Kingdom of Aksum, the group come across a building in the earth. This is quite the find, something with the potential to alter our historical understanding of this ancient kingdom. And on top of that, it may also have serious implications for how we view early Christianity.
This discovery was made within the context of a five-year operation, which started in 2011 and ended in 2016. The works took place about 70 miles from the Red Sea, not far from Ethiopia’s neighboring country of Eritrea. The excavation site was once known as Beta Samati, which is “house of audience” when translated from an East African language called Tigrinya.