The Origin, Significance and Physical Condition of the Great Medieval Defensive Dry Stone Walls of Dawuro/Kati Halala Keela, Southwest Ethiopia

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Admasu Abebe

Abstract

The medieval Dawuro2 kingdom in south-western Ethiopia was able to build defensive dry stone walls and dig defensive ditches from the 16th to the 18th century. The motivation for these activities might have been the need to protect the territory against the neighboring arch-enemies, the Ahmed Gragn’s war
and the Oromo population expansion or pastoralist pressure. This paper basically assessed the construction process, the scientific value and the physical
structure of the Great Dry Stone Walls of the medieval Dawuro kingdom in the upper Omo Valley. The data was collected in 2011 through fieldwork, in-depth
interviews, focus group discussions, and document analysis. The walls are locally called the Kati Halala Keela. They are dry stone walls constructed without
using any joining materials. The walls counted three to seven rows and the kingdom was watched over by seven main gateways. Some sources estimated
the length of a single wall from 150 km to 200 km length. The sum total of the seven rows to be about more than 1,000 km. Its average height and width is
about 2.6 m and 3.5 m, respectively.

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