The Gedeo Mixed Cultural and Natural Landscape is located in Gedeo Zone,  Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) of  the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The Gedeo Zone  lies between 50 and 70 North latitude and 380 and 400 East longitude, in the escarpments of the southeastern Ethiopian highlands overlooking the Rift Valley, in the narrow strip of land running from North (Sidama zone) to South (Oromiya region). It shares the largest boundary with Oromiya regional state and only in the north-east with Sidama Zone.

The Gedeo Mixed Cultural and Natural Landscape  is the combination and the presence of a harmony of combination between nature and cultural civilization. The Gedeo Mixed Cultural and Natural Landscape is the result of Human contact with nature. Gedeo is the place where one can see great and magnificent ancient  megalithic stones dispersed in the breadth and width of the  natural heritage i.e the agro-forestry zone.

Cultural Properties

Chelba Tuttiti Megalithic Site. Chelba Tuttiti Megalithic Site is located in Wonago Woreda Deko Kebele 3.5 K.M from the main road there are around 7500 household living in the area Chelba Tuttiti bordered to the  East with Bonqo Okato Mountain North Tuttiti Deko West Wodeye South Chitobicha There are more than 1360 stelae in an area of 12.5 hectare. The height of these stelae measured from 0.5m to 6 m.

Sede Megalithic Site. Sede Mercato is found in Yerga Chefe Woreda in Sede Kebele at a village called Kib. It is far about 8 km south west of the town of Yerga Cheffe. Bordered North  with Yirgachefe South with Kochere West with  Haru  and  East with  Udessa.

Sede is located 6km from the main international road that connects Ethiopia with Nairobi. An altitude of 2186 a.s.l Geographically, it is located at 6o 07‘ 06.0‘‘ north latitude and 038o 10‘ 59.8‘‘ East of longitude and at an altitude of 2186 meters above sea level. It is found at the top of a hill. It is a protected area which has thirty five meters of length and 30 meters of width. Though it is a protected area, it does not have a fence and currently, the area is covered with bushes and trees. No one knows when and who erected the stelae at Sede Mercato. More than 470 stelae, associated with tumulus and the majority of them are found still standing. Sede Mercato is a cairn roughly oriented north-south. The site contains numerous stelae of various size with cylindrical shaft or quadrangular ones, with or without the Tuttofella type decoration or Tutti type.

The height of the cairn seems to be about one or two meter in its central part. Some of the occupation are likely recent and especially in the outer and northern part of the cairn, marked by roughly hewn monolithic stelae made from basaltic prism. The height of the stelae measures 2.60 in meter and its circumference is 1.28 meter. The strong possibility in this was a funerary cairn whose tombs were built successively by acceleration, quite like Tuttofella cairn. Phallic stelae are numerous, some were shaped using hammer stone and others have been obviously been worked with metal tools.

Tuttofella Megalithic Site. Tuttofella Megalithic Site is located in Wonago Woreda. Archeologist  R. Joussaume discovered seven megalithic sites in three woredas of Gedeo. His  intensive excavation in Wonago in Tutu Fela from 1993-1997 resulted in the discovery of human remains buried in different layers. More than one dead body was buried in one tomb in different periods (Metasebia, 1996).

According to R. Joussaume (1997), the top layer constituted corpses that are dated from 12th – 13th century A.D. with household utensils.  The bottom layer is dated to the 10th century A.D. Thus, he assumed that two different generations used the same site for burial in different periods .In Tuttofella, The stelae are carved from ryolites of various kind and basaltic prism (columnar basalt).

Sakaro Sodo Megalithic Site. Sakoro sodo site is located in Gedeb Woreda in Halo Hartume Kebele some 3.3 km to the north of the town of Gedeb and some 300 meters from the main international road at a village  called Sakaro Sodo. The geographical location of the site is 05056‘55.1‘‘ North of latitude and038015‘17.8‘‘ East of longitude and at an elevation of 2367 meter above sea level. The site measures .6 hectare . The area is protected as a heritage site by Gedeo Zone Culture, Tourism and Communication Department.

Sakaro Sodo megalithic site contains an alignment of 27 standing stelae and seven stelae that lay in the ground. All of these stelae are found encircling a big indigenous Dokema tree. From these stelae only ten of them are standing or intact. The longest stelae measures 3.50 meter and has a circumference of 2.50 meters.

Odola Gelma Rock Engravings Site. The Odola Gelma Rock Engravings site is located in Dilla Zuria Woreda in the South Eastern part of Gedeo Zone.  It is located on a river named Hanshi Malcho. This is a sacred river used for a ritual ceremony that is related to purity.  The area is not yet explored by archeologists, however it is believed that the site is one of the ancient settlement areas. Odola Gelma Rock Engraving Site is surrounded by red volcanic lava. It shows images of long- and short-horned cattle. The Odola Gelma  area is densely peppered with rock engravings, and megaliths which is a testimony of  a very heavy and significant concentration of Neolithic people.

Natural Properties

The Gedeo indigenous agro forestry is located along the eastern escarpment of the rift valley system of Ethiopia. This was formed during Miocene epoch 26 million ago. Over 80% of Geode lies along the escarpment of the rift valley system with slopes reaching up to 70 percent.  It is found with altitudinal ranges from 1300 to 3064 m.a.s.l. (Bogale, 2007). This is one of the indicators of how far the landscape diversities are important in the view of world center for flora and fauna diversities. This has also boosted landscapes connectivity and is maintaining wider watersheds areas. Moreover, the landscapes also create their own scenic beauties which serve as potential ecotourism sites. Registration of the system safeguard these unique landscapes, and visitors may enjoy by looking at the physiographic and geological features and get a good understanding of the formation of the rift valley system in general and escarpment in particular. The escarpment also contains a hot spring which is also one of the tourist attraction features of the area.

Gedeo Mixed Cultural and Natural Landscape is also exceptional, it carries the highest population density in Africa. For instance, a carrying capacity of about 500 persons/km2 for well managed home gardens has been authenticated (Fernandes et al., 1989). The Gedeo agroforestry in Ethiopia supported up to 1300 persons /km2 (Bogale, 2007; Mesele, 2007). This figure is also by far higher as compared to  the country’s average of 72 persons /km2 (Kidanu et al., 2009). In reality, the population densities of 10 selected home gardens in different parts of the tropics lie between 40 and 700 persons /km2 (Nair, 1993). Higher carrying capacity of the system is mainly attributed to the existence of Enset (E. ventricosum). E. ventricosum looks like a large, thick, single-stemmed banana plant and is domesticated and used as staple food in Ethiopia only. About 20 million people from central and southern highlands of Ethiopia depend on this crop to supply family food (Asnaketch, 1997). Thus, registration of this unique and drought tolerant food plants paves the way to maintain the genetic pools and perpetuate the species in indigenous agroforestry. Moreover, this can be a best example for people with higher population density anywhere in the world to learn how to harmonize population pressure with sustainable production and conservation on mountainous landscapes. These are: Wote (Yirgacheffe Woreda); Qisha(Kochere); Kurumi (Kochere); Hoticcha (Dilla Zuria); Wogida Amba (Wongao).

Written by 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *