This work is an abridged version of the book CHANGING SETTLEMENT PATTERNS IN THE AKSUM-YEHA REGION OF ETHIOPIA: 700 BC–AD 850 written by the author and published in 2005 in the Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology Series by British Archaeological Reports (BAR) of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Most of the book’s methodological and technical sections have been removed in order for the reader to more easily focus on the main theme of the work, namely how the study of the settlement history of a single region can reveal the ways in which a society adapts to changing conditions over the course of a thousand years.
From a scatter of simple hamlets and villages, Ancient Aksum evolved into a formidable mercantile state that, for a time, controlled much of the trade at the southern end of the Red Sea. Then, as circumstances changed, Aksum went into decline, its urban center contracting then disappearing. The historical trajectory of Aksum as discussed in this work offers a textbook example of political change: from egalitarian hamlets, the Aksumites organized themselves into an increasingly prominent local chiefdom, then into a kingdom, and eventually into a state.