The British Institute in Eastern Africa celebrates 60 years of partnership with Ethiopia

28 Feb 2020

On 26th February, the Ethiopian Embassy in London hosted an event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the very successful collaboration between the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Authority and the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA).

H.E. Ambassador Fesseha Shawel Gebre warmly welcomed 90 guests to two illustrated talks, which were followed by a cocktail reception sponsored by Diageo plc, who have been investing in Ethiopia for some years. Ambassador Fesseha congratulated the institution on their historic milestone and encouraged more collaborative efforts in archaeology, given Ethiopia’s rich history and heritage.

At the event, BIEA’s Director, Dr. Jane Humphris, spoke alongside her colleague Dr. Niall Finneran, of Winchester University. They stressed that much of the Institute’s contribution involves the training of Ethiopian archaeologists as their research work is community-based.

Dr Jane Humpris presents Ambassador Fesseha with a copy of Professor David Phillipson’s “Archaeology at Aksum, Ethiopia, 1993-7” which provides detailed account of five seasons’ research at Aksum.

Dr Humphris began by outlining some of the highlights of the partnership that involved the investigation of Ethiopia’s spectacular archaeological history.

She also addressed some of the exciting plans for future cooperation including a publication on ironworks in ancient Aksumite iron production.

Dr. Niall Finneran, who has previously directed landscape archaeology fieldwork projects in Ethiopia at Aksum, Shire and Lalibela, presented some of the fundamental results of the research he conducted under the supervision of renowned Ethiopian expert Professor David Phillipson in northern Ethiopia. In a broad-ranging presentation, he explored aspects of early Aksum, shrine archaeology, kingship and monasticism in medieval Ethiopia.

Full event coverage, including interviews with BIEA, will be up on our YouTube page soon. You can subscribe at

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