For many modern historians, the name "Aksum" will say little, and yet it was one of the greatest and oldest civilizations in East Africa. So much so that even Ancient Rome reckoned with it, for which the Aksumite cities were trade gates to India. The most important of them, the lost Beta Samati, was recently discovered by archaeologists.
One of the reasons for the little-known nature of Aksum was nature - during the excavations of Beta Samati it turned out that over many centuries the buildings of the city went underground by more than 3 meters.The huge, noisy and densely populated port on the Red Sea has literally disappeared from the face of the earth for a long time. In the 1970s, searches for Aksumite cities were carried out in the Yehi area, in the territory of modern Ethiopia, but ended in nothing. And only by chance in 2011, local residents drew the attention of scientists to the strange findings in the nearby hills.
After four seasons of excavation, it was established that Beta Samati continued to play the role of a regional center after the collapse of Axum. It was here that Christianity first became the official religion, but with a pagan ornament - this is indicated by the features of the found basilica. Here, in one cultural layer, typical carvings of animals and a black stone pendant with a Christian cross and the inscription "Revered" were found.
It was established that in 615, Muslims began to migrate en masse to Beta Samati, and soon, under the pressure of the young Islamic states, the ancient civilization lost its influence in the Red Sea region and disappeared. But, judging by the number of artifacts and jewelry found at the excavations, the process was peaceful. The city of Beta Samati was not destroyed and plundered, and therefore scientists hope to find many more interesting artifacts here.