March 15, 2016


Located in central Ethiopia, in the Gurage Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region, the town of Tiya is best known for its archaeological site. It contains 36 monuments, including 32 carved stelae covered with symbols, most of which are difficult to decipher. They are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture whose age has not yet been precisely determined. Surface finds at Tiya contained a selection of Middle Stone Age tools (tranchet blows) that are technologically similar to tools found at Gademotta and Kulkuletti.

According to Joussaume, who led archaeological work at Tiya, the site is relatively recent, being dated between the 11th and 13th centuries CE. However, the building of megaliths in Ethiopia is a very ancient tradition, with many such monuments predating the Common Era. Tiya is one of nine megalithic pillar sites in the Gurage Zone. As of 1997, 118 stelae were reported in the area. Along with the stelae in the Hadiya Zone, the structures are identified by local residents as Yegragn Dingay or "Gran's stone", in reference to Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, ruler of the Adal Sultanate.

The Gurage stelae are of three types: anthropomorphic stelae with human figures, phallic stelae, and stelae of neither anthropomorphic nor phallic type. The anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic/non-phallic stelae types are flat. Most of these stelae, including the 46 ones at Tiya, which are the largest of the bunch, also have distinctive, elaborate decorations. Among these designs are swords, plant-like symbols, and a standing human figure with arms akimbo. The sword design is reportedly of local "Galla" type, as made by the Oromo.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Golden Jubilee of African Union, issued on March 19, 2013.

Tiya (archaeological site) - Wikipedia
Tiya - UNESCO official website

Sender: Adam Wole (direct swap)
Sent from Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa / Ethiopia), on 06.02.2016

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