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Antiurban cities: Social agglomeration and egalitarianism in the Horn of Africa

Lecture by Alfredo González-Ruibal, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

2020.01.07 | Christina Levisen

Date Tue 25 Feb
Time 13:00 14:00
Location Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) Aarhus University Moesgård Allé 20, DK-8270 Højbjerg Denmark, Building 4230-232



The emergence of large settlements has been traditionally linked to the origin of the State and sociopolitical inequality. In many areas of the world, in fact, there are relatively linear sequences of urban and State development, such as the Mediterranean and large parts of the Near East. This is not the case in the Horn of Africa, where cities and states have emerged and collapsed several times during the last three millennia, with long periods of stateless, rural polities following centralized states. At the same time, large agglomerations often came without the robes of the state or urban life. In this talk, I would like to explore settlements in western Ethiopia and Somaliland during the early second millennium AD which were large and populous enough to be considered cities but that worked, in many ways, as the antithesis of a city.

The lecture is followed by an informal reception. All are welcome.    

Lecture/talk, History and archaeology