The Ancient ‘City of Giants’ in Ethiopia: An Archaeological Enigma


In the vast landscapes of eastern Ethiopia, hidden beneath layers of time, lies a long-forgotten metropolis known as the ancient ‘City of Giants’. A recent excavation by archaeologists from the University of Exeter and the Ethiopian Authority for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage unveiled this enigmatic city situated in the Harlaa region, believed to have been established in the 10th century BC.

Throughout human history, folklore and legends have painted vivid images of vast cities built and inhabited by giants. The presence of megalithic constructions from various historical periods, as well as traditions of many communities separated by oceans, strongly endorse their existence. Indeed, this very phenomenon was observed in this Ethiopian region. Contemporary residents recount tales of gigantic constructions made of enormous blocks encircling the Harlaa site, leading to widespread speculation that it was once the famous City of Giants.

Remarkable antiquities discovered in far-reaching locations such as Egypt, India, and China astounded researchers, showcasing the region’s trading capabilities. Experts also identified a mosque from the 12th century identical to those in Tanzania and an autonomous Somaliland region, an unrecognized sovereign state by the UN. These findings suggest a probable connection between various Islamic groups in Africa during that era.

From an archaeological perspective, a professor from the University of Exeter acknowledges the significant impact these findings have had on our understanding of economic activities in Ethiopia’s long-abandoned areas. The revelation that it was a prominent commercial hub further emphasizes its historical importance.

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But, was this truly a city of giants?

Local narratives were firm in their belief that only colossus could have maneuvered the stone blocks required to construct their region’s edifices. However, after examining over 300 skeletal remains from nearby cemeteries, which included young adults and teenagers, experts concluded that these individuals were not giants, based on their average stature and height.

Despite scientific evidence, locals remain unconvinced, steadfastly holding on to their ancestral beliefs. Indeed, this isn’t the first time contemporary science has dismissed age-old traditions as mere folklore. The unresolved debate around the existence of giants continues to intrigue many. In Mesoamerican mythology, the Quinametzin were colossal beings entrusted with constructing the mythical metropolis of Teotihuacan, built by the sun gods. Vast cities, monuments, and gigantic structures can be found globally, perplexing scientists attempting to understand how ordinary people, even with the aid of modern science, could have constructed them in the distant past.

Whether the ‘City of Giants’ in Ethiopia was truly inhabited by colossal beings or is simply a product of folklore and legend, its discovery provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient world, challenging our understanding of history and the capabilities of our ancestors.

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