Collection online

digital photograph

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2013,2034.16206

  • Description

    Digital photograph (colour); view of landscape showing a stela standing out of a barrow, with a human-like face carved on the top of the stone. Several other stelae can be seen in the background. Tuto Fela, Ethiopia.
    Scanned

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 31 July 2006 (Date digitized)
    • November 1999 (Original photograph)
  • Production place

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • File size: 120 megabytes
    • Resolution: 300 dots per inch
  • Curator's comments

    Tuto Fela is one of the best studied stelae graveyards in the Sidamo region, located to the south-west of Ethiopia and one of the many sites of this type found along the Rift Valley and the series of lakes that occupy its floor. The site is a huge barrow conformed by dozens of small tumuli and other burials, many of them marked with stelae. The site was studied for the first time in the 1930’s by a German team from the Frobenius Institute, and has been comprehensively excavated in the 1990’s by a French team which has documented around three hundred steale in the site. The excavation has documented two different phases for the site, the first one characterized by phallic stelae (long cylindrical stones with a hemispherical top delimited by a groove or ring) while the second stage uses anthropomorphic steale instead with the top of the piece carved to represent a face and the rest of the piece decorated with crossed patterns. These types of steale are characteristic of the south-westernmost area of Ethiopia, while to more to the north the steale are a bit different, usually plainer with swords, anthropomorphs and other symbols carved on them.

    Regarding their chronology the Ethiopian stela seem to be relatively new, dated from the 10th to the 13th centuries. All of them seem to have a funerary function, marking the tombs of deceased which were buried in cemeteries sometimes reaching hundreds of graves. The information provided by sites such as Tuto Fela show that not all the burials had an attached stela, and considering the amount of work necessary to prepare them those which had could be interpreted as belonging to high status people. It is difficult to determine who the groups that carved these stelae were, but given their chronology they could have been Cushitic or Nilotic-speaking pastoralist communities absorbed by the Oromo expansion that took place in the sixteenth century.

    More 

  • Location

    Not on display

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2013

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number

    2013,2034.16206

  • Additional IDs

    • ETHSID0010013 (TARA number)
Digital photograph (colour); view of landscape showing a stela standing out of a barrow, with a human-like face carved on the top of the stone. Several other stelae can be seen in the background. Tuto Fela, Ethiopia.  Scanned

Digital photograph (colour); view of landscape showing a stela standing out of a barrow, with a human-like face carved on the top of the stone. Several other stelae can be seen in the background. Tuto Fela, Ethiopia. Scanned

Reproduced by permission of the artist. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: EAF155898

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...