Archaeology of Ethiopia
Ethiopia offers a greater richness in archaeological finds and historical buildings than any other country in Sub-Saharan Africa (including Sudan). In April 2005, the Obelisk of Axum, one of Ethiopia's religious and historical treasures, was returned to Ethiopia by Italy. Under the orders of dictator Benito Mussolini, Italian troops seized the obelisk in 1937 and took it to Rome. Italy agreed to return the obelisk in 1947 in a UN agreement, and it was finally returned in 2005. As of January 2007, the obelisk has not been erected in Ethiopia. The monument was returned to Ethiopia in three or four large segments to facilitate easier transport. The pieces are so large that the Ethiopian government has been unable to erect it or even devise a way it could feasibly be done. The original site of the obelisk is an unexcavated area that would be damaged by heavy machinery, if that were determined to be an appropriate method of erection.
Ethiopia is well known for its significant fossil-bearing beds which have borne some of the oldest and most complete fossil hominids. One well known example is Lucy. Her hominid species Australopithecus afarensis is named after the Afar Ethiopian region where it was discovered. Other discoveries are still being made. Recently, archaeologists uncovered the ruins of the legendary ancient Islamic kingdom of Shoa, that included evidence of a large urban settlement as well as a large mosque.