From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Tiye.
For the Queen of Amenhotep III, see Tiye. For the Indian caste, see Ezhava.
Tiya vue d'ensemble.JPG
Tiya is located in Ethiopia
Location in Ethiopia
Coordinates: 8°26′N 38°37′E / 8.433°N 38.617°E / 8.433; 38.617Coordinates: 8°26′N 38°37′E / 8.433°N 38.617°E / 8.433; 38.617
Country Ethiopia
Region Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region
Zone Gurage
Population (2005)
 • Total 3,363
Official name: Tiya
Type: Cultural
Criteria: i, iv
Designated: 1980 (4th session)
Reference No. 12
Region: Africa

Tiya is a town in central Ethiopia. It is located in the Gurage Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region south of Addis Ababa. It is also the location of an archaeological site.

Archaeological site[edit]

Megaliths with engraved figures in Tiya.

Tiya located in the Soddo Region of Ethiopia is best known for its adjacent archeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site remarkable for its large stone pillars, many of which bear some form of decoration. The (menhir) or stelae, "32 of which are engraved with enigmatic symbols, notably swords," marking a large, prehistoric burial complex.[1] A German ethnographic expedition had visited the site in April 1935, and had found at one hour's journey to the south of the caravan camp the stone monoliths with sword symbol, which had been seen earlier by Neuville and Père Azaïs.[2] The archeological site was designated a World Heritage Site in 1980.

“Ethiopia hosts numerous geoheritages and geotourisitc sites, some of which have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, though defined as cultural and or natural heritage sites when registered These include the stelae of Axum (granted World Heritage status in 1980); the rock – hewn churches of Lalibela (1978); the Semien Mountains National Park (1978); the Fasiledes Castle in Gondar (1979); the prehistoric sites of Tiya (1980); the lower Valley of the Awash River (1980); the lower Valley of the Omo (1980); the Muslim Holy city of Harar (2006); and the Konso Landscape (2011).” [3] Unfortunately, the archaeology of Ethiopia is somewhat lacking, it has been called “…at best weak…” by Andrew Smith in “.[4]” In particular, there are two difficulties in understanding these types of sites from an archaeological standpoint. “First, certain groups are likely to have been responsible for a range of monumental forms, but delineations of individual group traits will therefore not be apparent simply on the basis of structural equivalency” and “Second, an examination of the archaeological literature illustrates a continued preponderance towards pre-colonial traditions of ethnic reconstruction, primarily constructed through oral historical accounts.” [5]


Surface finds at Tiya contained a selection of Middle Stone Age tools (MSA) they are technologically similar to tools found at Gademotta and Kulkuletti and because of the unique production process that uses what are called “tranchet blows,” Tiya tools might also belong to the same time span as these other two sites. [6]

Some use the presence of these remarkable decorated megalithic pillars at Tiya is used as evidence for the rise of social complexity in the region. [7]

The stelae at Tiya and other areas in central Ethiopia are similar to those on the route between Djibouti City and Loyada in Djibouti. In the latter area, there are a number of anthropomorphic and phallic stelae, which are associated with graves of rectangular shape flanked by vertical slabs. The Djibouti-Loyada stelae are of uncertain age, and some of them are adorned with a T-shaped symbol.[8]

Other points of interest near Tiya include Melka Awash, the Hera Shetan crater lake, and Agesoke, a place where very tall, naturally ordered stoneblocks can be seen.


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Tiya has an estimated total population of 3,363 of whom 1,615 are men and 1,748 are women.[9] The 1994 national census reported this town had a total population of 1,856 of whom 894 were males and 962 were females. Tiya is one of three towns in Soddo woreda.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Matt Philips and Jean-Bernard Carillet, Ethiopia and Eritrea, third edition (n.p.: Lonely Planet, 2006), p. 171
  2. ^ "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 31 May 2008)
  3. ^ Geoheritage Conservation in Ethiopia: The Case of the Simien Mountains
  4. ^ Origins and Spread of Pastoralism in Africa
  5. ^ Place-making, participative archaeologies and Mursi megaliths: some implications for aspects of pre- and proto-history in the Horn of Africa
  6. ^ A new chrono-cultural marker for the early Middle Stone Age in Ethiopia: The tranchet blow process on convergent tools from Gademotta and Kulkuletti sites
  7. ^ The Holocene Archaeology of Southwest Ethiopia: New Insights from the Kafa Archaeological Project
  8. ^ Fattovich, Rodolfo (1987). "Some remarks on the origins of the Aksumite Stelae". Annales d'Ethiopie 14 (14): 43–69. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  9. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4

Further reading[edit]

  • Roger Joussaume (editor), Tiya, l'Éthiopie des Mégalithes, du Biface a l'Art Rupestre dans laCorne d'Afrique (Paris: UNESCO/CNS, 1995).

External links[edit]